Jul 28, 2013

Review: Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Title: Getting Over Garrett Delaney
Author: Abby McDonald
Rating: ★★★
 (4/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published January 2012


Okay, let me just start off with pointing out that I just finished this book, and now I'm all smiley and stuff. I can't help it. It's just so cute! Here's what the book's about:

"Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly one-sided. The object of her obsession — ahem, affection — is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie’s feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett’s constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock — all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder — until he calls to say he’s fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she’s finally had enough. It’s time for a total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized self-help guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love."

This book made me feel so many things. Mainly frustrated. (And no, don't go thinking I disliked this book--because that totally is NOT the case!) I felt so bad for Sadie--from how McDonald described Garrett, he seemed like an adorable, intelligent, perfect guy. And the way she loved him so much--well, if I were in her shoes, I'd probably be in the same situation.

However, even though I started off loving Garrett in the beginning of the book, seeing him always coming to Sadie about dating advice made me feel a little bit off about him--even though Sadie isn't real (*gasp!* I know it hurts, but you've gotta admit it), it seems like a slap across the face to ask for girlfriend advice from a girl who is very much in love with you.

If Garrett is so smart, why didn't he realize Sadie's feelings in the very beginning? 

Anyway, enough about negative stuff. Once Sadie realized that she centered her life around Garrett, she did her absolute best to do a total Garrett detox (with the help of some new friends).

Let me just say that I was so engrossed in reading this book that I wasn't paying attention at my brother's baseball game (because, of course, I was reading) and a foul ball flew from the heavens and hit me right in the nose. (Minor bruises and soreness, no breaks, so it's all good!) I was so into reading about Sadie's story of getting over Garrett that I tuned out everyone screaming "LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT!! LOOK OUT!!!"

Eh. Reading Getting Over Garrett Delaney was worth it.

Even though (*SPOILER ALERT*) Sadie ended up going on a date with Josh in the end, I still have a few unanswered questions that I just wish that McDonald could've finished off for us:

1. What happens with Kayla and Blake? 

2. What happens with Sadie and Josh? Sure, they went on a date to the beach--but wasn't Josh planning on quitting work to go do some big cooking thing with an important chef? What happens with that?

3. Most important of all--what happens with Sadie and Garrett?! Sure, she broke it off and left him hanging...but are they still best friends? If not, are they even friends? Is he mad at her? Embarrassed? Did he understand?

So. Many. Questions!!!

So, my final commentary? I really, really liked this book. :) Even though Garrett ended up being not so perfect, a little part of me still thinks he is (but hey, that's just me and he sounds gorgeous and just...alright, I'll stop talking now).

Jul 25, 2013

Review: Frost By Marianna Baer





Title: Frost
Author: Marianna Baer 
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy, Ghosts, Horror, Boarding School 
Page Count: 396
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Summary~

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—eccentric Celeste Lazar.

As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House: frames falling off walls, doors locking themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And although Leena strives to be the peacekeeper, soon the eerie happenings in the dorm, an intense romance between Leena and Celeste’s brother, David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind…or in Frost House itself?

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Frost was something different. Not your typical ghost story. I am going to keep this review short and sweet.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and the idea was solid and not done before. The end wasn't as I expected but it wasn't bad either. 

I can't tell if this was physiological or actually a haunting. It leaves it off at Celeste and Leena aren't quite sure. 

What was up with that damn owl? First off it creeped me out, and second it had its own voice? Was it the ghost? It doesn't answer that question. Also what she keeps in that owl. Her pills. Towards the ends she begins to depend on them. I didn't like that. People lost trust in her, she lost friends, and potentially the ones she loved. 

Interesting book, topic, and characters. Mixing ghosts with mental disorders left me on edge wanting to know if one of them was going to go crazy. I wish there was a sequel. 



 RATING: 





Note: I think my house is haunted. So reading this book wasn't the greatest idea. I slept with my light on last night. No kidding. Don't laugh at me. 






Jul 23, 2013

Review: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Title: Go Ask Alice
Author: Anonymous (*Note: Her real name is Beatrice Sparks)
Rating: 
 (1/5 Stars)
Paperback, 213 Pages
Published January 2006 (first published 1971)




Alright, before we begin, a bit of a disclaimer for all of you so you don't just assume I'm a book-bashing kind of person: I'm not fond of writing negative reviews. Books like Go Ask Alice just need to be vented about, and since I'm the co-author of book blog, the internet seems like the perfect place to do it.

Here's a quick summary of the book, so you aren't TOO confused:

"It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth -- and ultimately her life."

So, earlier this evening I finally forced myself to finish Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, who is actually Beatrice Sparks. I don't know how long ago she was outed, but the Goodreads database pinned her as the author and publicly shamed her. Why, do you ask, did they publicly shame her?

I'll tell you. This story, Go Ask Alice, is supposed to be a primary source. Yeah, you heard me. It's supposed to be the real-life diary of a fifteen year old drug addict named Alice. As I just pointed out, it's not. It's a total lie. A total fraud. Not even did the reviews on Goodreads hint me towards that--I knew it right away, once I read the first diary entry.

Here's one. Even though it's supposed to be written in the 1970's, does this sound like a fifteen year old girl to you?:

"Wow! I'm really living! I have a job. Chris asked her boss last night and he said yes. Isn't that the greatest?! I'll be working with Chris on Thursday nights and on Friday nights and all day Saturday and I'll be able to buy anything my non-conforming little heart desires."

If I could sum up Go Ask Alice in a single sentence, this would be it: one of the absolute worst books I have ever read. There really isn't even much more to say. It was just so poorly written--one day she was swearing off drugs, the next: "Oh, I really can't wait to try pot! I really, really, really can't wait!" It's supposed to be told in the POV of a 15 year old teen. Even if this book was written in 1971, my parents both confirmed that none of them talked as childishly as Alice did throughout the book. (Not even drug related--she just sounded like she was four.)

I picked up this book because I thought it was going to be a dramatic, tragic life story. It was absolutely nothing of the sort.

And, since we've already established that this is a fake, made-up diary and not a real one, this is how you can tell how poorly the writing was done and how desperate of an attempt the author was making to keep teenage kids away from drugs (*SPOILER ALERT*):

"The subject of this book died three weeks after her decision not to keep another diary. Her parents came home from a movie and found her head. Was it an accidental overdose? No one knows, and in some ways that question isn't important. What must be of concern is that she died (ahem, no Ms. Sparks, she actually didn't, so you're a liar), and that she was only one of thousands of drug deaths that year."

Really.

Really.

So now this "fake real-girl" died of an overdose AFTER SHE HAD BEEN CLEANED FOR MONTHS AND STARTED TURNING HER LIFE AROUND.

I'm so frustrated right now that I want to punch the screen of my laptop. But I love my laptop, so I won't do that.

(Side note: Hmm. Looks like whenever I'm furious about a book, I seem to have so much I want to say. But when I really like a book, I have to drag the sentences out...huh.)

It's not very common that I really dislike a book. Sure, there are a few that I think weren't the best or were "just okay." But in all honesty, I wouldn't recommend Go Ask Alice to anyone out there. I'd rather just save them the 24 hours they'd be wasting to sit down and read this junk.

Sigh. Well, now that I'm all upset...I guess I'll just go start reading a book that I actually enjoy.






(*Notice: Once again, as I've said before, I'm not fond of writing negative reviews. As I mentioned above, books like this just need to be vented about, and since I'm the co-author of book blog, the internet seems like the perfect place to do it. I also want to make sure that people are aware of how unsatisfying this book is, so they can be fairly warned.)










Jul 21, 2013

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Pretties
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Rating: ★★★
 (4/5 Stars)
Paperback, 370 Pages
Published November 2005

Book #2 in the Uglies series

Now that I'm back, I'm jumping right back into doing another book review...this time, I'm reviewing Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (obviously). I have to say, it usually takes a great deal for me to get involved with a series. Generally, I don't really find books that I like enough to want to find out about the rest of the character's journey.

But then again, that's just me. So here's a quick summary of the book, so those who haven't started to read the Uglies series yet can at least get some gist of what this book is all about:

"Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive."

I actually really, really like this series! :) From the beginning of this book until the very end, I was hooked. Throughout the first book, all Tally wanted to be was pretty, but she couldn't be. And now she IS pretty, so all of her problems should be solved, right?

Wrong.

As I was reading, I was sort of silently praying that Croy (an old "friend" of Tally's) wouldn't deliver her the letter that she wrote to herself. I was hoping that Croy and David and all of Tally's old friends would see that she's happy and leave her alone. But of course, as it typically goes in the book world, that didn't  happen. Not by a long shot.

So I can honestly say that I was inwardly cringing when Tally finally read what she'd written to herself a month earlier, before she turned herself in for surgery. I wasn't looking forward to the upcoming action, fierce and relentless, all over again. I tend to get bored when a character finally resolves his/her problems, only to get a whole new set of challenges, book after book after book in a series. So yeah, I wasn't happy.

But it turns out that it was pretty awesome. Tally had to find a way back to the save haven of the uglies that know the truth, all while struggling to try and remember exactly who these strange uglies (keep in mind, her used-to-be friends pre-surgery) are.

So my conclusion is that Westerfeld is a great writer. He keeps thinks interesting without overdoing details, repeating ideas from the plot--he's also pretty good at cliffhangers. *SPOILER ALERT* When Tally realized Shay had become a Special, I was not expecting that at all. So, props to Mr. Westerfeld!

Well that's it for this blog post, but be sure to check back to The Book Bratz soon for both mine and Amber's next reviews!

Jul 18, 2013

Review: Bitten By Kelley Armstrong



Title: Bitten
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Werewolfs, Supernatural, Horror 
Page Count: 436
Publisher: Plume Books
Book #1 in the Woman of the Otherworld series 

Summary~

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf. 

Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel.

-----------

Kelley Armstrong never fails to stun me. I read her young adult series Darkest Powers and was instantly hooked with that, so when a friend suggested I should give this a try I figured why not. 

Can we take a moment and ask the world why Clayton Danvers is not real? Why he is a fictional, 37 year old, sexy werewolf who already given his hear to another girl? We all know who that girl is. Elena. 

Here is the quick back story  Ten years ago Elena fell in love with Clay. She didn't know that he was a werewolf. Then he bit her. (It was very unclear why he did) Elena had grown up in a foster home after her parents death as a young girl. Wanting some form of normality in her life so she did the unthinkable, left her pack and moved to Toronto, Canada. Moves in with another man who she loves and tries to have a normal life. (Well as normal as you could when you can sprout fur.) When Jeremy (The pack leader) calls her. Elena packs up and heads by to New York to see what her pack needs.

Elena and Clay's relationship and past is complicating and confusing. She loves him. Doesn't love him. Loves Phil. But then in the woods she is "Making love" to Clay as she puts it. Maybe because I am younger and don't understand but you catch my drift. That is another thing, their passion and lust for each other is breath taking. Clay clearly loves her and she loves Clay. Only she won't let go what happened 10 years earlier. Is she capable of loving the man who stole her life? 

One thing I didn't like about the book was there was a lot of details. When a book has a lot of details I tend to skim and miss details. Of course I try not to but it happens. Also I will end up putting the book down.  The book for me really picked up towards the end. Though it seemed like the ending was also rushed. (At least the action part) 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend it for older high school students based on sexual content. (They don't go into graphic detail but her explain what is going on makes you pretty much understand.) I am now eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to come to my library! 



 RATING: 














Jul 9, 2013

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Title: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Rating: ★★★
 (5/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 239 Pages
Published April 2011



Let me start with OH MY GOD THIS BOOK WAS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. I finished it earlier today and was just itching to write the review before the feeling of amazement and awesomeness fled me. But omg, I loved this book so so much. It was AMAZING. If I could give it six stars, I would. Even seven stars. I think anyone and everyone should check out this book.

So, are you wondering what it's about? Here, I'll tell 'ya:

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse. Just dreams. 

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world...

I honestly thought that R and Julie were the cutest love story I've ever heard. And believe me, I've heard of a lot of love stories. The way that R brings Julie back to his home to keep her safe, when he just as easily could have split her head open and eaten her brains (*wrinkles nose*), immediately made me think he was sweet. He also didn't think like the rest of the zombies. Even before he fell in love with Julie and (*SPOILER ALERT*) started changing, he seemed far more "alive" (possible pun intended?) than the rest of his zombie friends.

Then again, they weren't really his friends. Just fellow undead.

So, let me rephrase that:

Even before he fell in love with Julie and started changing, he seemed far more "alive" than the rest of his zombie friends fellow undead.

Better.

Marion was able to pull of a story that had tons of serious thoughts and issues, but there were bursts of humor laced throughout it that made me smile. (Not to mention Julie and M's passion for curse words!)

All in all, I really loved the story. It was a great read that I devoured (heheh.) in a little over a day. :D

I haven't even seen the movie yet, but I have a feeling that the book is better. If anybody out there has read the book, feel free to comment and let me know which you think was better: Warm Bodies the book or Warm Bodies the novel?







Jul 3, 2013

Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Rating: ★★★
 (5/5 Stars)
Paperback, 448 Pages
Published February 2005

Book #1 in the Uglies series


In case you guys haven't already noticed, a book usually has to be really good for me to give it five stars on this blog--I'm verrrry picky about which books deserve the highest rating I can give.

Looks like Uglies is one of them!

A quick synopsis for you guys:

"Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to "the Smoke" and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The "Special Circumstances" authority Dr. Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever."

As for this book, I really, really liked it. I devoured it in just over 24 hours! (Yeah, you read correctly--I took out the book on Tuesday afternoon and finished it on Wednesday night.) The plot is definitely something different, and it really makes you think about society's views on "pretty" and "ugly." I mean, who is the person that decides these things?

There was one part in the story where Tally and Shay were looking at old magazines, which were apparently filled with "uglies"...but those "ugly" people were the stars and athletes and singers and such that society nowadays deems perfect, beautiful, and amazing. It made me think--if they view Channing Tatum as an ugly (*GASP*), what the heck is their version of pretty?

You cannot get prettier than Channing Tatum. The laws of the world will not have it.

Alright, as much as I love Channing Tatum...this is a book blog. *Sigh* Let's hope that one day Channing Tatum decides to write a book. Maybe then it'll become socially acceptable to gush about him on this blog.

Enough of that.

I definitely think that everyone should read Uglies, and hopefully it'll make you think. And if you're feeling up to it, try the other three books in the series as well!