Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Title: Belzhar
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Page Count: 264
Age Range: 12+

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She'd be watching old comedy sketches with him. She'd be kissing him in the library stacks. She certainty wouldn't be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English. But life isn't fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead. Until a journal- writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve's arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam's path to reclaim her loss. 

My Thoughts:

Okay so I was recommended this book so many times but I never actually picked it up until about a week ago. I had read the synopsis but I was never drew to it. Jam just seemed so obsessed with her boyfriend and I am not a fan of girls whose whole life revolves around their significant others. However, I finally gave in an read it. Let me tell you what I thought...

So I was not a fan of the book until about half way in. My first thoughts on Jam carried through the beginning of the novel. She did not understand why she was at the Wooden Barn, even though she was SO OBSESSED with Reeve. It was kind of sad, and I was hoping she would get help. By the middle of the novel once she started to fit in more with the Special Topics class is when I started to enjoy it.
I thought that Wolitzer really has a grand imagination. The plot of the novel may seem pretty simple but as you read the book, you see all the additions that Wolitzer added to the plot that made it more complex. For example, the journals. We know that Jam will get better but we do not know why. Maybe it was a great teacher? Or a realization while reading? Or her peers in class? However, it was none of the above. Wolitzer weaves in some fantasy elements with the journals. Every time one of the Special Topics students wrote in the journal, they were transported to an area where they could see the reason they were at the Wooden Barn. For Jam, this was Reeve. I  was initially surprised at this  turn of events, but with every visit, I got more comfortable with the idea. However, we never know how this visitation works which is one of the problems I have with the novel. I wanted an explanation, but the teacher, Mrs. Quenell, did not have one to give.

I think one of my biggest problems with the novel, especially in the beginning, was the pace. I was always waiting for something to happen that would make me want to keep reading. I felt that everything that was going on was just another event. Yes, it added to the plot, but I was not really interested. I think this was because I was not connected to any of the characters. I think the reason why I like some of my favorite books is because I can connect and I am emotionally attached to the characters. For example, in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas I was absolutely obsessed with Caleana and wanted to be her. 

Okay it may seem  right now that I hated the book. This is not so. There were definite pros and cons, the cons that I have already explained. One thing I really enjoyed about Belzhar was the ending. I will not tell you what happened, sorry :( but I will tell you that it was not what I was expecting, but in a good way. It was one of those endings where I put down the book down when I ended and just stared at it. I was like "what just happened...."

Overall, this book was a little hard to get into but once you get towards the end it gets interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a plot change :D 

Rating: ***
Cover Rating: Like it
1. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
3. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Now, what do you think?

a Book Nerd 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Top 10 books that should be make into movies

Hey everyone! I was writing my Shatter Me review the other day and I was thinking that it should be made into a movie. Then, I was thinking Throne of Glass would be AMAZING as a movie. So, I thought I would compile a list of great YA books that should be on the big screen. Let me know what you think!!

10. Out of the Easy (Ruta Sepetys). I think any movie in New Orleans would be wonderful.
9. Any Sarah Dessen book. I just want to see Sarah Dessen become the new Nicholas Sparks. I also think that these plots would make for a real great girls night out.
8. Sea of Tranquility (Katja Millay). This would be such a good tear jerker. I can see it now...
7. Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta). This would be a perfect independent movie that is short and sweet. I do not think it would be a big deal like the Hunger Games but I think that it would be a great sort of different movie.
6. Audrey, Wait (Robin Benway). I would love this to be made into a movie because the soundtrack would be off the chain. I think it would be a really great independent movie like Perks or the Way, Way Back.
5. The Selection (Kiera Cass). Yeah, I am going to be a total girl and say this. I just want to see a real life Maxon. Is that too much to ask?!?!
4 Revolution (Jennifer Donnelly). I think a good YA historical fiction would be something different in the theaters. People base YA fiction off of Twilight/ The Hunger Games and I think that if they saw something different they would appreciate it more.
3. Looking For Alaska (John Green). I think I said this last week but this deserves to be made into a movie now that John Green is on a movie frenzy.
1. THRONE OF GLASS (Sarah J. Maas)!!!!! If this is ever made into a movie I will camp out at the theaters. No joke. I think the action, characters, and plot would be a great idea for a movie. I also think that the scenery would be really beautiful and would be captured well on the big screen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: November 15, 2001
Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal
Page Count: 338
Age Range:12+

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
I have a curse.
I have a gift.
I am a monster.
I'm more than human.
My touch is lethal.
My touch is power.
I am their weapon.
I will fight back.

Juliette hasn't touched anyone is exactly 264 days. 
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17 year old year old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and the Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous boyd. may she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

My Thoughts:

So my thoughts on this book have definitely changed over time. I have read this book a couple of times in the past four years and every time I read it, I find something new that I like or dislike. The first time I read this book, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was not only a great love story but a really interesting dystopian. The second time I read it, I was not really a fan of Juliette's male counter part and the last time I was just focused on the reality of the novel. So let me tell you what I think of this book now, after the fourth time of reading it.

First of all, I love the plot. I think with many YA dystopians, the revolution or problems occur in a typical girl/ boy in the population. In this book, we get to see what happens in the middle of it. Juliette is staying with the son of the leader of The Reestablishment, so she gets to see and hear everything. I thought it was a new and different way of writing a dystopian and I really enjoyed it.

Now speaking of Juliette, I thought that she was sooo annoying in the beginning. She would whine and complain but over time, she learned and loved which finally allowed her to grow. I thought that Mafi did a great job writing this book because we could feel everything Juliette was feeling. In the first couple of chapters, some sentences were crossed out (like in the synopsis) and some were amplified more that others. We could understand and feel what Juliette was going through. I also liked how Mafi grew Juliette over the novel. In the beginning she was a confused, broken girl and at the end she was confident in her abilities.

The one thing I really did not like in this book was Adam. Like I said before, when I first read it I loved him. But now I just cannot understand him and I really did not like his relationship with Juliette. I think he just spend so much time with her because he wanted to fix her and heal her. I just felt that he was a fake character and I could see through all of his crap. Their romance was also really sappy and I thought it was the typical YA romance. I did not feel any love between the two of them...I think Juliette only liked Adam because they could touch without one of them dying..

Overall, I think that this book has a different writing technique and a really interesting plot. Although some of the characters may be hard to connect to, I would recommend it to everyone!

Rating: ****
Cover Rating: LOVE IT
1. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Now, what do you think?

a Book Nerd

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trailer Thoughts: Paper Towns

Goooood morning everyone!

So I recently went to the movies to see the Longest Ride (SOOO GOOD!), and I saw the Paper Towns trailer for the first time. Let me give you a background on my John Green thoughts before I tell you about the trailer. I like John Green. I do not love him and I do not hate him. I think that he is a really great author and I love his brother (because let us be honest Crash Course saved my biology grade). I have just had some trouble with some of his books. I loved Looking For Alaska but did not like An Abundance of Katherines. So, I like John Green. Does that make sense?

Now, when I first heard they were making a movie for The Fault in Our Stars I was not surprised. It is a great read and would do well on the big screen. When I heard they were making a movie for Paper Towns I was crazy surprised. I think Looking For Alaska deserves to be the next John Green movie, but what do I know.

So, the trailer. I really liked it. I would totally go buy a ticket right now to see the movie. I have a feeling that they are going to do a great job with it even though it is not Looking For Alaska. I love the cast, especially Cara Delevingne. I obviously cannot see into the future, but I have a feeling that this movie will be a good one..

a Book Nerd

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway

Title: Audrey, Wait
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: April 10th, 2008
Genre: Contemporary

Page Count: 314 
Age Range: 12+

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Everybody's singing, "Audrey,Wait!"

Audrey Cuttler's life hasn't been the same since that song, "Audrey, Wait!" hit the airwaves. All she wants to do is go to concerts, hang out with her friends, and maybe score a date with the cute boy who works with her at the Scooper Dooper.

But now, her ex-boyfriend's song about their breakup is at the top of the charts and she's suddenly famous! The paparazzi won't leave her alone, the tabloids are trying to make her into some kind of rock goddess, and the Internet is documenting her every move!

Will Audrey ever be able to have a normal life again? Get ready to find out, because it's time for Audrey to tell her side of the story.

My Thoughts:

Alright amazing fellow readers. I am warning you because today I am changing up the format today. Oh yes. Today is a list review. What is a list review you ask? Well, it is when I just list the reasons why I liked the book and why I did not. I am doing this today because this is the only way I could possibly think of reviewing this book. Let me know if you like this format or if you prefer the other.... THANKSSSS :D :D 

So I think that if you added up all of the times I have read this book it would be up to fifteen now. I have read this book so many times that the pages have food stains, rips, and pen mars all over. I cannot tell you how much I love this book. I read it for the first time when I was in eight grade and fell in love. I have read it multiple times a year since then. Yes, it is a really fast read to answer your question. I think the reason why I pick it up again every year is because it is fun. Yup. That is it. It is fun. Really fun. Like I want to meet Robin Benway and hang out with her for a day- fun. So let me tell you why....

1. Audrey is freakin amazing. When I first read this book in eight grade, I wanted to be her. She is so sassy, down to earth, confident, and SO FUNNY. Audrey was someone I would really like to be friends with and during the whole novel I was rooting for her and enjoying the ride through her eyes.

2. FUNNY. FUNNY THINGS. FUNNY THINGS IN BOOK. Let me give you some advice. Do not read this book in public or around other people. You will laugh soooo hard. Robin Benway is just a really sarcastic and witty author and it really comes out through her writing.
3. The plot. It may not be about anything crazy serious or mysterious but it is just plain entertaining. I love the idea of having a song written about you (I mean I would never want it but still...). I am a huge music fan and I totally understood the feeling that Audrey talked about when she mentioned music. It came through the pages and I could really connect to it.

Now not every book is perfect, so neither is this one. So here is why..

1. Cannot hear the song... The entire time I was reading this book I just wanted to hear the song that was talked about and quoted the whole time. But of course there is no way to add music to a paperback book but still...

2. Flow. I am all for the flow and this book had great flow. But, I thought it went a little too fast. I felt like it was always going from one thing to another and I kind of wanted it to just slow down. 

Overall, amazing read. Go pick it up right now if you have not read it. 

Rating: *****
Cover Rating: this is a different cover, and I like my cover more
1. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
2. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales 
3. Also Known As by Robin Benway

Now, what do you think?
a Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Top 10 Things I Look For in a Good Book

Hey everyone! So today I thought I would rank some of my top 10 things that I look for in books. This is not an exclusive list. It is just some things that I take into consideration :D

10. It has a freakin awesome cover. For example, the Shatter Me cover makes me want to stare at it forever.
9. I am going to be a total girl and say that I do enjoy a cute little romance sometimes. Nothing crazy. I mean is a Four or Fang too much to ask?
8. I HATE when the characters make me want to smash my face into a wall. So, I would appreciate a character that actually has a brain.
7. Something I can relate to. I am most interested in book that makes me think about my own life.
6. Humor. I like laughing. I mean, not all good books have this but it is a bonus.
5. An  exciting plot. I will literally rip the pages.
4. Flow. Flow is important people!
3. Endings. Endings that make me put my books down and stare at the wall are the best. I just cannot physically move because I am just in shock.
2. Keeps me guessing. I love books that are interactive. I am one to tell anyone who is near me about the book and tell them all of my theories (sorry co-workers...)
1. REAL PEOPLE. I like books that have people with real problems/ feelings. I hate reading books when the characters are fake and do not have any depth.

a Book Nerd

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Title: Dove Arising 
Author: Karen Bao
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction 
Page Count: 336
Age Range: 12+ 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the moon. She's barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the planets in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government's radar. Then her mother is arrested. The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth dwellers. Training is brutal, but it's where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider. Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that's the plan. Until Phaet's logically ordered world begins to crumble...

My Thoughts:
So I originally picked this one up because I have seen it literally EVERYWHERE! Barnes and Noble, Amazon, blogs, the internet... the list is endless. Since I am a huge sci- fi nerd, I thought I would try it. 

My first impression of this book is how well written it is for the author's first novel. Karen Bao started writing this book at the age of 17 and now finished it during college. I think it is so amazing that she was able to accomplish this at such a young age. I also think its really interesting how she incorporated facts from what she is learning in school. She is college for environmental biology, and this comes up in the novel at Greenhouse 22. Now only did I learn about the moon while reading this book, but I also learned a lot about plants and how they would function on the moon. Pretty. Freakin. Cool. 

So, the book is about a girl who was raised on the Moon. Earth completely destroyed itself, and now only those left behind life there. Phaet, is tested once her mother is arrested. She has to take care of not only herself, but her family. Throughout her journey, she learns more about herself, her family/ friends, and the planet she lived on. 

Although I was impressed with her first novel, there were some flaws. The book was predictable and some of it reminded me of other books. At one part I thought I was reading Divergent, but sometimes ideas from books overlap. I also thought that some of the characters were a bit cookie- cutter. I thought Phaet was an okay main character. She was a tad whiny, and a bit annoying at times. But, she got the job done and was very determined. I think Wes was the problem for me. He just changed personalities so many times that I never knew what was going through his head. He was unpredictable, but in the bad way. 

This book was definitely creative. Bao creates a whole world on the Moon and draws pictures that are just so crazy to think about. This book really makes you think about what would happen if humanity could not stay on Earth anymore. If the science that is portrayed in the novel is true, the Moon may be a choice.

Overall, I think this was a good read, but a great first book for the author. It is not something I would read again though. 

Rating: ***
Cover Rating: Pretty cool
1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
2. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
3. Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers 

Now, what do you think?
a Book Nerd 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Book Haul 4/4

Hey everyone! So today I thought I would just let you all know some of the books I have picked up recently. School is starting to slow down for me (now that I know where I am going to college) so I have had more time to read. Anyway, feel free to comment/ message me if you have any thoughts on the book I have listed (if they are any good, did not like them, or just any comments in general). Awesome, well here we go!!!

1. The Diviners by Libba Bray

  • I am so excited for this one because Libba Bray did an amazing job with A Great and Terrible Beauty. My friend recommended this new one to me and she said is was fantastic. 
2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • I have seen this one in various places over the years and never actually picked it up. It was at my library the other day and I was just like "what the heck". So, I am ready to give it a try!!
3. Zodiac by Romina Russell
  • This one looks interesting. I really like learning about Zodiacs so I think this book will allow me to learn more (super excited!!)
4. Dove Arising by Karen Bao 
  • Another sci-fi for me....and I am pumped. This one looks a little different and let up hope it is in a good way