Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

Title: L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
Series: L.A. Candy #1
Finished on: January 21, 2013
Released:  June 16th 2009 by HarperCollins
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Los Angeles is all about the sweet life:
 

Hot clubs, cute guys, designer...everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can't wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun.
When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a "reality version of Sex and the City," they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!
Soon Jane is TV's hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara-free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres-and she's lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane's spotlight.
In a city filled with people chasing after their dreams, it's not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be.
Let's be clear right now, I'm a huge fan of The Hills and Lauren Conrad so that may impair my judgement just a tad bit, but I'm trying my best to be completely impartial and give an honest review of the book.

For the first half I really didn't know how I felt about L.A. Candy. By the end I was completely hooked and almost skipped everything else I had scheduled to read the sequel.  This was an addicting read that I flew through in just a few hours.

The main character, Jane, is very likeable. You want everything to work out for her. Yet somethings that happen to her are very undeserved and I totally felt for her. And of course there are spoiled mean girls at play who deserve a good kick.

Yes, the writing is a bit more simplistic than a lot of other books out there, but honestly, it's realistic of the demographic that is portrayed in the novel. This is definitely a YA "chicklit" and perfect for a reader looking for something very light. Maybe as a refresher after a heavier read? Beach reading material for sure. Lots of drama, fashion, and parties; a very girly novel.
Anyway, this is a must-read for fans of Lauren Conrad, MTV, or reality TV in general. I don't know how much of it is actually true, but it could provide a lot of insight of what goes in behind-the-scenes of so-called "reality" shows.

Oh, and heads up for anyway planning to read L.A. Candy, we're left with a total cliffhanger, guaranteeing you'll want to read the next installment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday [10]

Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.


Because I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars, this week I choose
Across the Star Swept Sea by Diana Peter Freund as my WoW pick.

Expected Publication: October 15th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Summary from Goodreads:
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #1
Finished on: February 9, 2013
Released: January 11th 2011 by Razorbill
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I fell so in love with this story.

Let me first say that this was my first venture in anything remotely science fiction. Seeing this label made me hesitant to pick up this book because I wasn't sure if I'd be into the genre or not. As it turns out, Across the Universe is one of my favorite reads so far this year.

This story had me going, 'What the heck is happening?!" the whole time, but in a seriously good way, not in the bad, lost kind of way. For a person not used to science fiction, this had so many surprises and twists and interesting details.  It's also an extremely quick read. I got through it in just a few hours; a definite page turner. I was so into this book and something was always happening or leading up to something else making it was extremely difficult to put down without reading one more chapter, then one more, then one more...

Of course, great writing and great characters. The author uses dual-perspective alternating between Amy, a "technical" new-comer to the ship and Elder, who grew up on the ship. This worked excellently giving different views about the things going on allowing the reader to learn so much more. I loved the characters that were meant to be loved and hated the ones meant to be hated. It was interesting going on Amy's journey as she wakes up in an entirely different world.

I definitely look forward to reading the second book in the series.




Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday [9]

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

1.) Sarah Dessen- Some Favorites: The Truth About Forever, Just Listen
2.) Jodi Picoult- Some Favorites: The Pact, Nineteen Minutes
3.) Debbie Macomber- Some Favorites: The Cedar Cove series
4.) Stephanie Perkins- Some Favorites: Lola and the Boy Next Door!
5.) Richelle Mead- Some Favorites: The Vampire Academy series
6.) Gayle Forman- Some Favorites: If I Stay, Where She Went
7.) Abbi Glines- Some Favorites: The Vincent Boys
8.) Jessica Sorensen- Some Favorites: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden!!!!, The Secret of Ella  and Micha
9.) Nicole Williams- Some Favorites: Crash, Clash
10.) Lauren Oliver- Some Favorites: The Delirium series

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Finished on: February 7, 2013
Released: November 30th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Love.Love.Love.

Let's start with the setting. I adored it. Condie did an excellent job creating a whole new world. She's just descriptive enough that the reader has no problem losing themselves in the Society, but without the story getting bogged down in world-building. I'll admit that I even kind of liked the Society through the first few chapters. It started off so much less typically "dystopian" at the beginning, though it doesn't take too long for that to change. I found myself very interested in how everything was set-up and how it worked with the Matching ceremony, the elderly, artifacts, the "greatest 100" of everything etc... The concept of choices have pretty much been all but eliminated, which seems like that would make living so much simpler, but really this world is so complicated. Condie is fantastic as getting every detail down in a natural way that doesn't include page after page of "this is how this works".

This is a love triangle story. Cassia is trying to decide between her long time best friend Xander, who she was matched with and Ky, who she wasn't technically matched with, making a relationship between the two unheard of. The way the two boys where portrayed made it difficult for me to choose one that I'd like Cassia to choose. We get to see a lot more of Ky and learn much more about him then we do about Xander though.

Overall, this read like a first book in a series. Not entirely too much action and the reader learns so much about the world. It never dragged or became too slow for me though. There were enough little hidden mysteries to keep me quickly turning pages until the end. I'm very anxious to find the time to finish the other books in the series.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [4]


Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's reviews to share the books we've bought, won, received as gifts, or borrowed this week. 

Bought:


Hopeless by Coleen Hoover
The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Splintered by A.G. Howard
If I Never Knew You by Aubrey Bailey
Insanity by Lauren Hammond
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Borrowed: 

Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfield
Matched by Allie Condie
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Recieved:

Starting Now by Debbie Macomber


Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Finished on: February 3, 2013
Released: December 23rd 2008 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.
I really enjoyed this one. I held off reading it for the longest time thinking that it probably wasn't my type of thing, but it was. 

The use of short, dual-perspective chapters made it a very quick read that consistently held my attention. I loved reading about both Brittany's and Alex's back stories. They come from very different backgrounds but when they come together they find they aren't so different after all. They both find themselves trying to portray a certain image to the world; images that don't exactly match who they really are. Together though, they don't have to hide or pretend.

This was a very sweet, but roller coaster of a story and I was rooting for them the whole time. I'll definitely find time to read the next two in the series. Sorry for such a short review, but some time has passed since finishing this one. Just one to put it out there that it is an enjoyable story and perfect for those readers who enjoy a good contemporary love story.


Book Blogger Hop: E-Reader or Physical Copies?



Q: Which do you prefer most: a printed book or an E-Reader? 
A: For the longest time I was totally anti-E-Reader. I thought there was nothing like actually getting to hold a book in your hand and see its pretty cover and turn the pages. But then I was gifted a Nook Color a few summers ago and completely fell in love. I can own as many books as I like and not drown in them in my little apartment. I can also take as many as I like on vacations. And the best part is reading at nighttime and not need any lights on. I think that's my boyfriend's favorite thing about E-Readers. Oh, and don't forget being able to instantly look up a foreign word or Google an interesting topic for more info. The list for why I love my E-Reader goes on and on... but I still love the way a full shelf of printed books looks. And I typically buy my most favorite novels in physical copy form.

But if anything, my e-reader has totally spurred a book addiction. I can't help but look for all those fantastic e-book deals which seem to happen almost everyday. Now the poor thing is full of books that I probably won't even get to in a year and I can't help but buy even more...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday [8]

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Favorite Characters from Classics









1.) Scarlett from Gone with the Wind highly recommend!
2.) Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird
3.) Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
4.) Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind
5.) Lily Bart from The House of Mirth
6.) Meggie Clearly from The Thorn Birds highly recommend!
7.) Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights
8.) Mrs. Maxim de Winter from Rebecca highly recommend!
9.) Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby
 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Title: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Finished on: January 20, 2013
Released: August 23rd 2011 by Razorbill
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Blood doesn't lie...

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...
It took me way too long to start this series. I was so hesitant because I absolutely loved Vampire Academy and Rose, Dimitri, and Lissa so darn much and thought I'd miss them and their stories too much. I eventually went into it with the mindset that it's two separate series meant to be enjoyed for their own unique qualities. I really was not disappointed.

Sydney is such a different narrator then Rose. While Rose was such a physical character, Sydney is much more mental... if that makes any sense? She's a very smart girl and it's so interesting to watch her grow and see the changes in her as her world gets turned around and her beliefs shaken.
And while I miss Dimitri, Adrian isn't so bad. Really, he's not. (; Actually I love all of his scenes and found myself waiting for them.

This is one of the longest (lengthwise) books that I've read so far this year, yet it took the shortest amount of time. It's such a smooth read that flows right along and makes you not want to put it down. While I didn't fall quite as deep in love with Bloodlines as I did with VA, it was only the first in the series and I'll definitely be reading the next!




 
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