May 31, 2013

Review: Cally's Secret

Title: Cally's Secret [Originally titled The Thin Blue Line]
Author: Sarah R. Weldon
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars) 


Let me just start off by saying that I really, really liked this plot. As I constantly mention in my reviews, I'm a big fan of uncommon plots. If it's been done before, I most likely will get bored with it and not want to continue. With Cally's Secret, that wasn't the case!

Just a bit of a plot summary for you (and if it seems hard to follow, that's okay--it's actually a bit hard to explain!): Last December, Cally Walker had a brief, one-night affair with gorgeous, model-like Daniel. Three months later, she's pregnant--with twins, no less! However, her overweight husband Paul thinks that the twins are his--or does he? Cally's best friend Sarah has always wanted to start a family, but she was never able to conceive. Little did she know, her husband Mike got a vasectomy--but why hasn't he ever told her? Mike's also having an affair with a pretty little nurse named Dawn, who all of a sudden gets pregnant. But if Mike had a vasectomy, how is she having a baby?

I really did enjoy this book. I thought that the three different plots (technically four or five, if you count the husbands/love interests) managed to all tie together seamlessly.

However, the only thing that confused me a bit was the dialogue. At certain points, the dialogue was written strangely and I had to go back and reread, otherwise I had absolutely no clue who was talking. It didn't follow a regular dialogue pattern.

I don't have the copy of the story on me to pull out an example right now, but basically it was just seeming very flighty to me. For instance, Sarah would be talking to Daniel, and then all of a sudden, someone else (who isn't named--only sometimes mentioned in a sentence in the dialogue) jumps in and they have a conversation. I don't know, I just felt that I constantly had to go back and reread because in my head, all I was thinking was, "What? Who just said THAT? Wasn't Sarah the one talking?"

Also a slight thing that confused me was that I'm not from England, nor do I speak any French, so 95% of the references made in the story sounded funny/made no sense to me. But that's just because of my location. It was still well-written...or at least, I think it was. *Shrugs* Like I said, I'm not English or French.

So, to sum it all up, I was hooked on this story. I kept planning and scheduling time out of my day so I'd have enough time to read and power through the book. I'd constantly tell Sarah what chapter I was on via Goodreads, and even she (the author!) remarked how quickly I was tearing through it.

I'd definitely recommend Cally's Secret to any girl that wants to read some drama/romance with a pinch of mystery-solving. Bravo, Weldon!

I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got to get going! Special thanks to Sarah Weldon for sending me a copy of this story to read. :-)


May 21, 2013

Reader's Choice on MissLiterati

Greetings to all of the book nerds out there. :) Today I'm just writing a small post about something pretty awesome that happened to me yesterday (and yes, it has to do with books).

So yesterday afternoon in class, I signed onto My Miss Literati Account to check on the most recent story that I've been writing, called Switch. I had 15 subscribers. Nothing big, but not exactly that bad for a basically unknown writer, either.

When I got home, I signed on to start writing, so I checked again. My follower account was up to 42 subscribers, and I had a whole swarm of new comments and such from other accounts, raving about my story. My first thought was Hey, this is pretty cool! But then another thought popped up into my mind: Why is everyone noticing my story all of a sudden?

I went to Switch's homepage, and sure enough, there was the pink Miss Lit banner announcing that Switch had won the Reader's Choice Award for this week. I had several reactions at this time:

1) I double, triple, quadruple checked the Miss Lit homepage to make sure that I was actually on my story. Written by me. And sure enough, Switch has the Reader's Choice Award on the Miss Literati.

2) I started dancing around my bedroom like an idiot because A) I'd just won the Reader's Choice Award and B) I was finally getting recognized as a writer.

3) I started texting/Tweeting/posting everywhere about the fact that I won. Not to brag, of course! It was more of a I-Can't-Believe-This-Just-Happened-To-Me moment.

4) I posted an announcement on Switch, thanking everyone for the award and also for being the cause of my terrible victory-dancing.

So after all of that victory stuff was over, I read through all of the comments. Sure enough, people really like my story, which honestly surprises me since I've been a Miss Lit member for years and my stories never became anything big. (Also, my inspiration for Switch hit me when I was playing The Sims, so I really didn't expect it to be that great of a novel.)

As of this morning, I had 63 subscribers on Switch. I keep gaining subscribers and comments like crazy, and it's pretty cool! As of right now, 4:45pm the same day, Switch has 78 subscribers. Read Switch here.

In case you guys were interested, here's the synopsis for Switch:


My real name is Leah. Since I was really little, I’ve been known as Shaylin, Amber, Delilah, Annabel, Sophie and now, Rebekah. No, I’m not a ghost. No, I’m not indecisive. It’s all because of something that my mother did years ago, and I’m afraid that I may have helped her with it.
The police have been looking for us for ten years. Everything’s different now. Once The Thing happened, everything changed.
I’m used to switching.
I’m used to running.
I’m used to moving.
But I’m sick of hiding.
But what’s a fifteen-year-old girl to do?

Hopefully you guys like it as much as the Miss Lit members do!

So, that's really all I had to share today. I just wanted to get my excitement out somewhere, and what better place to do it than a book blog? 

See you all soon!
















May 17, 2013

Review: Icons

Title: Icons
Author: Margaret Stohl
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars) [A definite must read]


I just finished reading Icons by Margaret Stohl, who was also the co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series (before we start, let me take a second to gush about how much I loved the Beautiful Creatures series). Hearing that Stohl was going out on a limb and publishing something on her own actually really excited me. I wanted to see how well she wrote on her own, without the help of another author like Kami Garcia (up until Icons, I've never read anything that Stohl has written by herself). I'm glad to report that I really enjoyed the story!

Basically, the story is about the world in the future, where thirteen Icons descend from the heavens and land in different cities. The world is turned upside down and is dictated by the Lords--these Icons have the power to stop a heartbeat and destroy everything. Unless you're one of the Icon Children, you'll die if you get too close to the field of energy pulsing from one of the Icons. The Icon Children, of course, are exactly what our four main characters (Tima, Lucas, Ro and Dol) are. After an interesting turn of events, they become part of a rebellion to take down all of the thirteen Icons--but will they succeed?

I thought this was a very good book--it was well-written, it was different, and it was interesting. Props to Stohl. The only thing that I wasn't entirely keen on was the way that Lucas was so flighty in the decision of whether or not he wanted to be a part of the Rebellion. I kept finding myself getting almost annoyed with him--why can't the dude just pick a side?

So, onto my ever-famous list of pros and cons!

Pros:

It kept me hooked. Lately, it's been becoming increasingly more difficult for me to be able to find a book that I really get into. I've been reading boring fluff and those sleepy books that we have to read in English class--I missed something gripping. My mood instantly shifted from bored to excited when my library called me and told me that yes, Icons had finally come in for me! The plot was interesting enough that whenever I'd put the book down to do something else, I'd constantly be itching to pick it up again. 

Note: I also had a lot of "Oh, I'll just read one more chapter!" moments. Which, of course, resulted in sitting and reading 5-6 chapters instead of just "one more." Sometimes it just gets too good to stop!

Cons:

Some things were a bit unclear. *SPOILER ALERT* When the Padre died, I had to go back and re-read those paragraphs a couple of times, because it happened so fast and wasn't entirely clear, so I kept saying, "What?!" One minute, Dol was daydreaming, and the next, the Padre was smiling and just...dead. I originally thought that it was part of Dol's freak daydream-nightmare. So in the next chapter, when I realized that he's really dead, I was just very, very confused.

All in all, a good story. :) I was glad that I fought with my library to be the first one to read it when it came in! I really hope that this wasn't the only book and that a series is going to stem off of this one--because it was just that good!


May 11, 2013

The Great Gatsby: Book vs. Movie

So, I had the pleasure of seeing The Great Gatsby last night, and I'm here to dish on exactly what you're all wondering: Which was better? The book or the movie?




If I had to give this movie a rating, I'd give it 4 1/2 stars. (★★★★). (There is no half-star on this blog, but pretend that it's there, anyway!) I believe that the movie followed the book very well. DiCaprio captured the essence of Jay Gatsby and made him come alive. (To be completely honest, I kind of always pictured DiCaprio as Gatsby when I read the book, which was before they announced the movie.) Toby Maguire also played his part well--he adapted the life of Nick Carraway and made it believable.

There are only two things that I weren't exactly keen on...

1) The music! Oh my gosh...this was the 1920's, right? 1922, to be exact. So why oh why was the first song in the entire movie by Jay-Z? They danced to Lana Del Rey, Jay-Z, and a bunch of super-modern songs. It just made no sense. It just didn't fit!

2) The way Daisy cops out in the end. This detail isn't an attack on the movie itself, because it's also in the book. But arrgh, it just frustrates me so much! Tom was no good to her. Jay loved her so much and would do anything for her. Why couldn't she go with him?! I know that a lot of people can argue that there were some bad qualities of Gatsby, but he loved her so much more than Tom ever did. It's obvious. No matter what anyone says. *SPOILER ALERT* Not going to Gatsby's funeral was just plain disgusting of her.

So, all in all, I think I liked the movie a teensy bit more than the book, only because I felt that the movie really brought the book to live and gave it the vibe it needed.
"He threw all those parties, hoping she'd wander in one night."

Okay.

Tears. 

Here come the tears.

I can't do this.

I'll talk to you guys later.













May 9, 2013

Review: Fuel To The Fire

Title: Fuel To The Fire
Author: David Staniforth
Rating: ★★★(3/5 stars)


Hey there, everyone! Author David Staniforth sent me a copy of his work, Fuel To The Fire, for me to read and review on our blog. Let me start off with a plot summary: 

Having spent her entire life disguised as a boy to avoid being dragged into horrible slavery, Davran gets caught in a sort of earthquake in a cave, which leads her to the world that she was always told about but never thought it was real. In this world, there's sunlight, lots of food and friendly people...basically, this world is the complete opposite of her own. She gets taken in by a retired dragon trainer and soon starts crushing on his soon, Ronyn. When Davran is discovered, she learns that a prophecy proclaims that she'll have to go back to her original world. But will she?

Pros:

I've never really been gripped by fantasy novels with dragons and witches and magic. *shrugs* I don't know. It's just never gripped me. However, this novel did. I wasn't in total I-Can't-Put-The-Book-Down mode. I kept picking up my iPad and reading whenever I had free time, but it wasn't like I was clearing my schedule to read it. (I'm also swamped with AP Exams. That's another reason). Anyway, Staniforth's writing style is very clear and descriptive. He captures dialogue between characters seamlessly. This story was interested and imaginative, and it didn't follow common, everyday plots.

*Note: I am not a fan of common, everyday plots.

Cons:

I wasn't entirely keen on the fact that once Davran entered the "other world", we basically forgot about her parents. There were a couple of brief mentions of them trying to dig her out. But according to the story, Davran had been gone for a couple of days already. What I really wanted to know is how Davran's father reacted when he came back from trotting off and couldn't find his daughter. What did he do? How did he know that she was in that cave? According to the story, wasn't the cave a bit of a distance away? In between those few days of Davran originally going missing and the groups of men helping dig through the rubble, what was going on? 

All in all, I liked the book. It kept me entertained. Which is something that a book should definitely do!

Special thanks to David Staniforth for giving me the privilege of reading his book. :)


May 4, 2013

Review: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter


Title: Born At Midnight 
Author: C.C. Hunter
Genere: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, & Urban Fantasy
Page count: 398
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Book #1 in the "Shadow Falls" Series


Summary:
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren't  just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn't belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn't complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn't be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart. 

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…





     Even though I have a lot of favorite books this one tops them all. I love books with a fun realistic character who is snarky, down to earth and funny. Usually in books I found the the main character is reserved and quiet. This was something completely different though.

    Kylie's parents are divorcing in the beginning of the novel, she feels abandoned by her father and that he mother wants nothing to do with her. She feels betrayed that her father didn't take her with him and left her with "the ice queen" a.k.a her mother. Her mother is making her see a shrink twice a week for a ghost Kylie has been seeing. He is a solider he just stands there and stares at her along with a cool chill in the air every time he appears. The same night she goes out to a party with her best friend Sara only to see her ex boyfriend, Trey there with his new arm candy. Things go from bad to worse when the police show up and drag every one from the wild party down to the police station. Kylie calls her father to come and get her not wanting to deal with her mother. But instead her father calls "the ice queen" and she comes for Kylie. With her last straw her mother informs her daughter that she is going to summer camp. Shadow falls. To be exact. A camp for "troubled" kids.

   I really liked the characters in this book, there is Della who is a vampire, Miranda a witch, Perry a shape shifter, Holiday a fae, Lucas a werewolf, Derek a half fae, and then Kylie who isn't quite sure what she is yet.
No body knows what she is yet either. But with help of her camp leader and Mentor Holiday she will soon see that she needs to dig deeper to get the answers she so desperately craves. There is talk of her even being descended from the gods.

   Kylie keeps trying to convince her self she is either going crazy or has a brain tumor, she is unable to accept that she might be a supernatural. She feel like that is the worst thing in the world to possibly happen at the time of her life falling apart. Then she meets Derek, a beautiful half fae that reminds her Trey. (Oh! did I mention that he can read her emotions? and manipulate them?)  As she develops feelings for him she fears it is only because she is still in love with Trey or worse Derek is making her feel these things But then there is Lucas, a gorgeous werewolf with startling blue eyes that makes her feel things that she never has felt before. Both relationships are hot and passionate making Kylie make a hard decision: Who will it be? Derek or Lucas?

   Just as Kylie starts settling into her new life FRU  barge in demanding to get to the bottom of a secret that can potentionally shut down the camp for good. Kylie takes it upon herself to find out what it is.

Each chapter leaves you with a delicious cliff hanger leaving you craving more. For me this made the book impossible to out down, leaving me reading into all hours of the night. I have seen a plot like this before and wasn't expecting what this book turned out to be. Mrs. Hunter did a great job with everything!

One thing that I have to say that would turn off some readers is the sexual content. There is no sex scenes, but there is talk of virginity and sexual things that some may find uncomfortable  Honestly, they are teenagers and this is what teenagers do, think of sex. But Age wise I would recommend it from 14 or higher.

Born at Midnight had a fun setting, spunky characters, a fun dialogue that will leave you laughing till the very end. I highly recommend this book to anybody who likes supernatural creatures or a boarding school/ summer camp setting.



RATING: 


Want to see my idea of what Lucas and Derek look like? 



       

Lucas Parker    Derek Lakes







May 3, 2013

Review: When Everyone Thinks You're Gone

Title: When Everyone Thinks You're Gone
Author: Amelia Faith
Rating: ★★★★ (5/5 stars)






Let me start off by sharing an important (and super awesome) fact about author Amelia Faith...she's only fifteen years old and you can already buy copies of her book online! She started off by posting her story, When Everyone Thinks You're Gone, on Miss Literati (I use the same website to post some of my stories!). I think that the fact that a teenager can write an awesome story and then get published at such a young age is super inspiring. I want to be an author later on, and seeing that someone my age can make it in the writing world gives me a lot of motivation. Props to you, Amelia!

Quick fact: Did you know that author S.E. Hinton was only 16 when she started writing The Outsiders?

So, a quick summary of the story...I'll make it super quick and simple so I can get to reviewing! Charlotte and her best friend Justin get into a fight. The last words that she ever says to her best friend are "I hate you." And later that night, bam, Justin dies in a car accident. Charlotte's world is turned upside down. But then she starts seeing Justin everywhere, he "comes back" in a way, and she falls in love with him. Buuuut it gets better. [Insert super-adorable Angel named Emmett that Charlotte starts to fall for here.] What'll happen next? Read it and see!

Pros:

This book took a totally different approach on love stories. It had all of the basic elements of a romance plot--a love triangle, best friends in love, love that you can't have, etc. The fact that Justin dies in a car accident totally tugs on your heartstrings. When he starts visiting Charlotte and they fall in love, you start to get really attached. I've never been one for romance novels, but when Charlotte starts falling in love with Emmett, my heart started screaming, "NO, YOU IDIOT. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WITH JUSTIN. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Throughout the story, though, I started warming up to Emmett.

Cons:

There's really only one thing that I didn't like about this book, but it's all a matter of opinion, so if you don't agree, then I technical don't have any cons. Anyway, the only thing that I didn't like was that Charlotte and Justin were best friends, yet she seemed to give him up so easily for Emmett. I know that there was no way that her and Justin could be together, but it just made me really sad. Like, I literally started texting all of my friends (we were all reading it together) and we all had a cry-fest.

All in all, When Everyone Thinks You're Gone was an extremely well-written romance story that drew me in from the very beginning. Faith's writing style is advanced and super-intriguing, especially for a teenager! Amelia Faith has inspired me to keep writing, and she proved that age doesn't matter--if you're a great writer, people will love your story.

Special thanks to Amelia Faith, and look for the sequel of When Everyone Thinks You're Gone, coming on June 7th!