Monday, June 29, 2015

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Title: Emmy & Oliver 
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Genre: Contemporary 
Page Count: 352
Age Range: 12+

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Emmy's best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach- go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up- not since the day Oliver disappeared. 

Oliver needs to figure out his heart. He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling. 

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles- impossible to fit together?

My Thoughts:

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have probably seen my Audrey, Wait review. So, you know how much I like Robin Benway.  Of course when I heard that she had written a new book I was pretty much like "KDJSFLKLJJDJKEELDNDNKKPAP YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!" This is always a bad thing to do because I get myself so excited and ready for a book and when I read it, the book never ever lives up to my expectations. 

Emmy & Oliver was an exception. I freaked when I heard about the book, and when I read it I was happily surprised. Robin freaking Benway did it again. Emmy & Oliver was cute, impressive, thought provoking and just overall amazing. Emmy and Oliver started off as best friends when they were born on the same day and their parents became good friends. However, when Oliver is kidnapped by his father, their friendship shatters. Their whole town has to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives. Emmy has the hardest time with this, losing her best friend and her freedom. Her parents are crazy overprotective and will not let Emmy do what she loves, surfing.

I liked Emmy. I liked Emmy a lot. She was strong through everything that happened to her, especially when Oliver comes back. She stood up for what she wanted, even if she thought that it might be taken away from her. Her love for surfing and her friends comes through the pages (due to Benway's amazing writing). I also really enjoyed her friends. Caro and Drew were the best sidekicks ever. They teased each other, supported each other, and loved each other. This was one of those friendships that I always envy when I read books like this one.

The plot in general was very intriguing and reminded me a lot of the TV show Finding Carter. Have any of you watched that show? It is SOOO GOOD and Carter reminds me so much Oliver. They both have so much trouble finding themselves and defining their identity after the traumatic events that happened in their lives. 

Honestly, go read this book. 

It is alive and full of passion and voice. Benway did it again, and reading this book is totally worth it. If you are looking for a book that will make you think about your family and how your life can change in one moment, please pick it up. 

Rating: ****
Cover Rating: It's okay I guess 
1. Saint Anything by  Sarah Dessen 
2. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord 
3. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 

Now, what do you think?
a Book Nerd 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Haul 6/27

Hello everyone!!

So recently I have been going on book sprees, and just getting everything that I can. So I thought I would make a little list of the new books I have acquired so you can read them with me before I post a review!

1. Talon by Julie Kagawa

  • a book about dragon humans? Yes please. Plus, Julie Kagawa is a writing genius and I cannot wait to read something new from her 
2. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  • I think this will be great for anyone who likes the Wizard of Oz. Amy Gumm seems like a great main character and I cannot wait to read her story. 
3. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  • Again, another dragon book! But this one is about actual dragons, not dragons who can become humans 
4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 
  • From what I have read, this sort of reminds me of Throne of Glass so I am hoping that this is as good as that series! 
a Book Nerd 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 345
Age Range: 12+ 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run- in at the dance imbuses her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. 
Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him- and discovered that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

My Thoughts:
Okay so I am going to come out and say it right away that I was not blown away by this book by any means. When it first came out and the couple months after, everyone was talking about the book. It was on the front page of B & N. com, Amazon, and most social media. Since I had read the Hex Hall series, I thought I should at least read the book. 

Well I could tell from the beginning that I was not going to like it. I actually stopped about twenty pages in and it took me two months after to pick it back up again. I could tell right away that I would not like it because of the main character. Harper is the popular goody two shoes who is so self confident and stuck up. I could not stand her. She was rude and did not care about anyone but herself. I mean, yes, she did grow up throughout the book but she still had that air about her even at the end. In the beginning of the novel, David Stark helps her when she is having a major freak out, and she barely apologizes and just goes on with her life. Like, okay?? RUDE. 

I also did not believe that the novel was super duper exciting. It was pretty predictable and I was never rushing to read the next page. I think that is when I could tell that it was not the book for me. The Paladin story made sense and was obviously thought through but it wasn't exciting! It is one of those things that I cannot really explain because there is not much to explain, which is kind of sad. 

I will say that I liked David Stark. I have no idea what he sees in Harper, but he was a cool dude. Although he had a hard time understanding his place in the world, I thought he dealt with his identity well, especially at the end of the novel. He manned (is that a word?) up and took responsibility for who he was. 

It was hard for me to connect with the characters because we differ so much, especially with Harper. She was so excited for Cotillion, having the right lipstick, and wearing the perfect dress. We just have different values and things that are important to us. It was just difficult to immerse myself in the story when I knew that I would never be able to completely connect. 

Rating: ***
Cover Rating: eh
1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
2. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
3. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
Favorite Quote: "Look at him. Whole life turned upside down, and he's in there making pizza rolls"

Now, what do you think?
a Book Nerd 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top 10 Bookmark Quotes

Hello everyone!

So as most of you know, I have been rearranging my reading area in my room. I started off with my bookcase and have slowly moved around to organizing the whole area. One of my projects has been to make a whole new set of bookmarks. Since I was making these bookmarks, of course I had to find perfect quotes to put on them. There were some that I found really amazing and I wanted to share them with you. So, I put them in this nice little list for you all to read at your pleasure. I hope you enjoy!

10. "There is no friend as loyal as a book" ~ Ernest Hemingway
9. "Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together until all living humans read the book"  ~ John Green
8. "When I read, I feel emotion all on my own. Emotion no living person is making me feel" ~Katie West (Pivot Point)
7. "Books have to be heavy because the whole world is inside of them" ~ Cornelia Funke (Inkheart)
6. "We read to know that we are not alone" ~ C.S Lewis
5. "Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life" ~ Christopher Paolini (Eragon)
4. "The stories we love best live in us forever" ~ J.K Rowling
3. "It's strange because sometimes I read a book and I think I am the people in the book" ~ Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower)
2. "I spent my life folded between the pages of book. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters" ~ Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)
1. "Libraries were full of ideas perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons" ~ Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass)

a Book Nerd

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

Title: Undertow
Author: Michael Buckley
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015 
Genre: Fantasy 
Page Count: 384 
Age Range: 12+

Synopsis (from Goodreads);
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker's life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five- nation race of ocean- dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. the world's initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric's small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she beings to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity's only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it's more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen. 

My Thoughts:
This book was not what I expected. You know how in the synopsis it says "a five- nation race of ocean- dwelling warriors"?? Yeah well I guess I was picturing a different kind of ocean dwelling warriors because the ones in this book were SO CRAZY AWESOME. Picture the Grievers from the Maze Runner but under water. Yeah, that awesome. There are different races of these sea people (Alphas) and each race has a specific highlight. I think this was one of my favorite things about this book. It was so imaginative. Author, Michael Buckley, did a wonderful job crafting these creatures and how they interact with the human race.

Okay so let me get to my review now. So this book is about a girl named Lyric who has lived on Coney Island for most of her life. But, with the arrival of the Alpha, tensions are high. The citizens do not want them there, and the Alpha believe it is their right to stay there. When some Alpha are brought into the local high school, Lyric must help her community assimilate the new arrivals, one of them being Fathom, the crown prince.

So besides my love for the Alphas, there were a couple other things I loved about this book. First of all, I loved Lyric's best friend. Bex is the funny sidekick who loves her best friend. I really felt the connection between the two of them and I loved that Bex got her own story line. Although it was not that great, I was happy to see that the book did not just revolve around Lyric. Bex has trouble at home and usually stays with Lyric and her parents. This whole situation really showed the kindness of both Lyric and her parents, which will be necessary throughout the novel.

I also liked the relationship between the humans and the Alpha. The city government, mayor, National Guard, and the police force are in the midst of each event and that adds to the suspense of everything that both the Alpha and Lyric are planning. I do not want to tell you what these things are because I do not want to ruin the book for you so I will leave this part of the review out. Anyway, I liked how you got to see how the reaction was by the humans, which included using the government. I feel that so many YA books have crazy things happening but the authorities are never involved. Like how many books have you read where something life shattering happens (like a freakin war) and the local government, or citizens are like "la de da". So yeah, I liked Buckley's use of that factor.

Okay on to the next thing. The one things that got me though was the predictability. There were not any "aha" moments, just "I knew that was going to happen" moments, which was sad. I wanted to be surprised but instead I was just sort of let down in that department.

Rating: ***/*
Cover Rating: Its nice
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
2. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
3. The Carnival at Bay by Jessie Ann Foley

Now, what do you think?

a Book Nerd

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tips to handle your To-Read piles

Okay everyone, let me tell you a story.

So, I just finished school. Like I am done. I have the whole summer to do what I want before I go to university so I have so much time on my hands. A couple weeks ago, when I first finished school, I had so much time on my hands that I made a bookshelf. Yes, I made a freakin bookshelf. My already existing two were overflowing and I needed a new place to put all the books. So this is the concerning part, every single book that I put on my new bookshelf was a To-Read book. Yes, so that is about thirty. THIRTY BOOKS IN MY TO- READ PILE. I am concerned for my health. Like, I just keep buying books but I have not had the chance to read or organize them! So, I am going to give you all a couple tips on how to manage your To-Read piles. I have used these tips over the past couple of weeks and they have worked for me! So without further ado, lets get started!

1. Get an idea on how many books we are talking here. I had thirty to deal with. So check out the final total.
2. Make a pact to yourself not to get any more books until you are done with every single book in your pile.
3. Give yourself some sort of system. Whether that is picking a name out of a hat or making a list.
4. Abide by your rules or you are never going to finish the books!!
5. Keep all of your books in the same place. It is easier to just go to that spot and look at what you are dealing with.

Okay, I hope this has helped you!! If you have any questions, message/comment/email!

a Book Nerd

Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Genre: Fantasy 
Page Count:387 
Age Range: 12+

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black- and- white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazement. It is called "Le Cirque des Reves" and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway- a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love- a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and he room grow warm whenever the so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

My Thoughts:
You know how you can just tell you will love a book just by the first page? Yes, well I knew that I would be obsessed with this book just by the first two sentences. I am not going to write them here because I do not want to spoil the experience for you, but just trust me on this. I am also going to say right now that this book surprised me in more ways than one. I was expecting this book to be about a young love that fills the pages. Yes, there was a love but no, it was not the main plot and center of the story. The story itself was more about this circus and competition and how it effected everyone around it. I was also not expecting it to take place in the late eighteen hundreds, early nineteen hundreds. It was a positive surprise because it added culture changes that I was not expecting.

Alright so I usually would kind of explain the book in my words and what was important to me, but I think the synopsis above from Goodreads does such an amazing job. So, I will skip that part of my review today and get to the good stuff.

Erin freakin Morgenstern. Please. I mean, can she get any better?

Her descriptions in this book made me want to cry. With jealousness. She was soooooooooo good. I mean, there were parts of the book where I literally thought I would look up and see the mysterious circus around me. I think what made this book for me was her writing. It was mysterious, dark, and, compelling and made me want to keep reading. Honestly, this book could have had no plot and I would have kept reading just because I wanted to stay for the descriptions. I mean, yes the plot was exciting as well. The fierce competition that was going on in the middle of this huge circus with enough mystery enough made it an intense place to be. Celia and Marco did not know that one had to be left standing, but they did know that they were putting the people around them in some serious danger. Each and every cast member was in the middle of the competition and did not know it. Celia and Marco had to be creative in not only keeping the circus alive and running but also trying to save themselves at the same time.

This brought in a couple other characters that I loved. Bailey and the twins added so much more to the story that you would not expect from the beginning of the novel. Again, I am not going to spoil this for you (just go read the book!!!).

One thing though about this book that I had trouble with was the multitude of characters. I had to keep flipping back a few pages to figure out which character was whom. I was so confused by the names of the characters and who did what and who is friends with who that I just kind of gave up and went with the flow (which ended up helping).

Overall, this book was so captivating and well written. I would recommend this book for anyone who does not like to put a book down due to the need to keep reading. SO GO PICK IT UP!

Rating: ****
Cover Rating: I LOVE IT x 10000
1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
3. The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg
Favorite Quotation: "Only the ship is made of books its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink"

Now, what do you think?

a Book Nerd

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Top 10 Tips for Summer Reading

Okay so it is June. That is craziness. Since it is almost summer, I thought I would make a list of some tips to stay on top of your reading this summer. I know so many people who swear an oath that they will read a set number of books during the summer. Does it happen? Of course not. So I hope these will help you read all of the books that you can!!!

10. Find books that you like!!! Whether that is from a friend's recommendation, blogger recommendation, or just an author that you like. Find a book that you will actually want to read.
9. Make a list of some sort of all the books that you are planning on reading. If you have it written down there is a higher likelihood that you will read them.
8. Join a group! Books clubs are so much fun! Whether it is through your school, with friends, or in the community it makes it ten times better to read with a group.
7. If there is a lack of clubs around then pair up! Find a good friend who has a similar interest in genres and have some fun!
6. Make a challenge out of it! Set a goal for yourself and see how many you can read!
5. Potentially picks some books that have movies coming out soon! That way you can go see the movie when you are finished (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl/ All the Bright Places etc.)
4. Find places to read. I know one of my favorite places to read in the summer is the beach. Get a nice tan on or whatever :D
3. Find some cool bookstores to check out. Local independent stores are the best and super fun to take a day trip to
2. Participate in some cool read-a-thons! I will be posting about them later but booktubeathon is one of my favorites!

a Book Nerd

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Realistic Fiction 
Page Count: 338
Age Range: 13+ 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future counting the days until graduation when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching  grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the "natural wonders" of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself- a weird, funny, live- out- loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. 

My Thoughts:

I have been thinking so much the past couple of hours as to how I wanted to write this review. When I first finished this book I was like "OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH WHAT WHAT WHAT?!?!" but once I had more time to think about it, it was more "what what what". That probably makes no sounded so much better in my head. So what I am getting at is that I am half and half on this book so let me tell you why.

(well before that I'm just gonna give you some information on it)

Okie dokie. So meet Finch. He has always been labeled the weird kid and is not able to connect to many people. So when he finds himself on top of the bell tower, it is not a surprise to him or any other students at school. But what is a surprise is finding Violet across from him on the ledge. Violet's sister died in a car accident the year before and is having trouble getting back to the living (metaphorically). Boy meets girl and they help each other find happiness.

First of my problems with this book. Doesn't this sound familiar? I feel that I have read so many books like this lately and while I was reading this there were so many parts that I was like "hmm, this sounds really familiar, I wonder if I have read this book?" I mean yes, there were major differences and parts of the book that made it unique but the main theme was soooooo similar to most YA books.

I did like the way that Niven handled the soft topic of suicide. I thought that her experience or knowledge on the subject really came through the pages. The way she crafted the characters, especially Finch, made me feel everything they were feeling like I was actually them. At the end of the book, Niven actually wrote a couple paragraphs explaining her experience with suicide (friend/family). It was like "duh" moment. It is those kinds of authors who can take their own personal experiences and churn and turn them into a novel that reflects what they felt. Crazy.

Niven also did a great job with the flow of the novel. It was smooth and really easy read. The plot was exciting and the suspense at the end literally had me at the end of my seat. Overall, this book had its strong points if you can get past familiar-ness (definitely not a word) of the plot.

Rating: ***/*
Cover Rating: I'm a fan
1. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
2. Paper Towns by John Green
3. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Favorite Quotation: "Before I die I want to _________"

Now, what do you think?

a Book Nerd