Sunday, 25 January 2015

Then (Once #2)

Goodreads Summary
The moving story of two orphans fighting to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland.

 My Thoughts
Just read it!
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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Once (Once #1)

Goodreads Summary
Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn't know anything about the war, and thinks he's only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn them--straight into the heart of Nazi-occupied Poland. 
To Felix, everything is a story: Why did he get a whole carrot in his soup? It must be sign that his parents are coming to get him. Why are the Nazis burning books? They must be foreign librarians sent to clean out the orphanage's outdated library. But as Felix's journey gets increasingly dangerous, he begins to see horrors that not even stories can explain.

Despite his grim suroundings, Felix never loses hope. Morris Gleitzman takes a painful subject and expertly turns it into a story filled with love, friendship, and even humor.

My Thoughts
It's difficult giving books like this 5 stars because the subject matter is so dark, but this story deserves them. The writing was perfect (in my opinion). I loved Felix's naive nature because he is just a boy and he can't possibly understand what is happening to the world around him.  

This book is hauntingly beautiful. If you enjoy books about the Holocaust than you should check this out. It's dark and it's painful, but it's truthful too.

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)

Goodreads Summary
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the
daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Thoughts
I hate the cover.  That was my initial thought. I heard some really good things on booktube though, so I thought I'd give it a try. 

I LOVED this book! I thought the world was interesting and easy to imagine what it would look like, but not so much that you couldn't let your own imagination take control. The world made sense for a time after a nuclear war. They have a different way of life than we do, but they need to. I loved that society regressed a little due to their circumstances. 

I adored these characters. Ivy is a headstrong girl who does not want to get married. She knows she has to so she puts on a happy face and marries Bishop. I love that even though he is gorgeous she wasn't creepily excited to marry this guy that she didn't know. Their relationship/friendship grew at a natural pace. It wasn't like some stories where they are put in crazy situations and then are enemies one moment and in love the next. It happened over several months and she worried about her growing feelings the whole time. She wanted to be true to her upbringing. To her family. And Ivy's family is nuts.

Mr. Westfall is on the side of democracy and you would think that'd be a good thing, but he also wants his sixteen year old to kill her husband. He groomed her to kill him. Her sister is no different. She didn't get her chance so now she will do whatever it takes to accomplish her goals. She was a bit psychotic if you ask me. Despite how crazy her family's intentions are, Ivy stays loyal. Even after she learns a life altering secret she still wants to help them gain control of the town. 

Then there's Bishop Lattimer. He's a book boyfriend for sure. He grew up as an only child of the President of this town and yet he has a mind of his own. He seems to respect his father's views, but has opinions and dreams all his own. He doesn't push Ivy to do anything she doesn't want to do and lets her speak her mind even when she shouldn't. He's just really well written.

I liked that the two sides were both flawed. The Westfalls wanted democracy, but they wanted it their way with their leader. The Lattimes ran a dictatorship that had some really horrible practices, but Mr. Lattimer could not have been kinder. He seemed to want what was best for his town. I enjoyed that one side wasn't completely evil and the other wasn't purely good. Both sides were in the wrong and that made it seem more real. 

I am really excited for the next one because this one ended kinda crazy. I need to know what happens next with Ivy. Will Bishop be ok? How will I make it until November?

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Saturday, 17 January 2015

Then You Were Gone

Goodreads Summary
Two years ago, Adrienne's best friend walked out of her life. One week ago, she left Adrienne a desperate, muffled voicemail. Adrienne never called back.

Now Dakota is missing. She left behind a string of broken hearts, a flurry of rumors, and a suicide note.

Adrienne can't stop obsessing over what might have happened if she'd answered Dakota's call. And she's increasingly convinced that Dakota must still be alive.

Maybe finding and saving Dakota is the only way Adrienne can save herself.

Or maybe it's too late for them both.

My Thoughts
Another impulse buy thanks to bookoutlet (ok next review will not be a book I bought on bookoutlet lol). The cover is gorgeous and the concept seemed really mysterious and interesting.  I thought this was going to be like Since You've Been Gone, but luckily it wasn't. It was refreshingly different.

I loved Lauren Strasnick's writing style. Her sentences were short and to the point. The chapters were extremely short. Her writing helped move the story along quicker and it made me connect with Adrienne a lot more somehow.

I understood Adrienne's downward spiral. We've all had a friendship that just didn't work out. What would you do if they call you, you don't answer and then they're just gone? I know I would blame myself and my sanity would take a turn for the worst. Adrienne is a teenager so it's understandable that she isn't the cheery, attentive girl people need her to be. I don't want to say too much about the plot because I think that this is one of those books where you should go in pretty blind. I think it'll be more powerful that way.

I don't really know how to rate this one.  I loved the writing, but I don't know if everyone will agree. I really enjoyed the story, but there were slow parts where I found myself hoping for more. I enjoyed the ending and only guess like 1/3 of it.  I think you'll need to read this one and judge it for yourself.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Being Sloane Jacobs

Goodreads Summary 
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

My Thoughts 
This was yet another impulse buy thanks to bookoutlet (aka the site that sells crack to book lovers at ridiculously low prices). I had read Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill and loved it, so I was pretty sure I would enjoy this without even really reading the summary. 

When I was reading the first few chapters I wasn't really sure how the swap was going to work. Won't people realize they aren't the right people? They don't look like the right people! How could they possibly pull this off? Well with the magic of Lauren Morrill's writing, they did. Sure this would never happen or work in real life, but that's the beauty of books.

The characters in Being Sloane Jacobs, particularly both Sloanes, were well written and interesting. The two girls could not have been more different (although slightly stereotypical at times) or come from different upbringings (also stereotypical), but they managed to form a plan and build a friendship throughout this crazy experience. The friends they meet along their journey add to the entertaining plot that left me with a smile on my face. 

I think that if you enjoy young adult contemporary and The Parent Trap then you will love this.  I'm not sure I'd read it a second time, but I'm not disappointed that I read it.

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Sunday, 11 January 2015

This Song Will Save Your Life

Goodreads Summary
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

My Thoughts
I have to admit that this was an impulse buy. Purely impulse.  I was adding books to my cart on bookoutlet and thought the cover was pretty...and it was only a couple dollars so I bought it. It however did not live up to its cover. 

In this book we meet Elise who is different than her peers and therefore misunderstood. I don't know if you remember, but being misunderstood in high school does not make for a happy time. In this respect I understood where she was coming from. Elise however was more dramatic and depressed than I was in high school so our paths went in very different directions. Sadly, Elise made plans to end it all. I feel like this aspect of the book could have been handled with a little more sensitivity.

This book was also unrealistic in a lot of aspects. Elise DJs a couple of times and picks up almost immediately. Seriously? Her parents never noticed her sneaking out of the house. Really? Lastly a heartbreaking blog is written about her and she says nothing. anyone.

I felt like this book was ok. I think that some aspects could have been handled better and others could've been removed entirely. I don't understand all the glowing reviews on Goodreads, but if you like the concept check it out.

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)

Goodreads Summary
Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

My Thoughts
I am embarrassed by how long it took me to read this book. I am literally hanging my head in shame at the ridiculous amount of time it took me to read this. It's not even because it wasn't good, it was amazing. I think I was just scared that my favourite people would have an untimely death. 

This book was so good. It picked up right where Never Fade left off with the characters we fell in love with in the first two books. Plans were made, fights were had, and Clancy was a douche. There were times in the middle of the book where I worried about my favourite characters, but I knew the animosity had to happen. I did hope we would find out what happened with a few of the minor characters in the end, but that's ok. The book as a whole was so good that I can overlook any minor disappointments. 

If you haven't picked up The Darkest Minds series yet...what are you waiting for? Go get them!!

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