Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Update

     Over the course of my long Thanksgiving break, I read and watched the following books and movies:

Books:
Night of Cake and Puppets by, Laini Taylor
Bitter Sweet Love by, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Movies:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Book Thief
     
      I was planning on reviewing them but you guys probably know how hectic the holidays can get! If you guys would like to know my overall feelings or a quick review of any of them, do not hesitate to write the title name below in the comments. I hope you all had a lovely holiday!
~Casey

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Kind of a Funny Story by, Ned Vizzini

























Summary:

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself. 

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. (Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 444


Release Date: April 1st 2006


Review:
     It is pretty ironic that the title It's Kind of a Funny Story is actually not true. I understand that Craig could say it is a funny story at how he got to Six North, but really it is not. The story does involve comedy but I do not find smoking pot, attempting suicide and not eating in any way funny, those are serious issues that people like that should go to Six North.
     When I searched online to find the cover I came across movie posters for It's Kind of a Funny Story. At first I thought they might have been fan art but it turns out in 2010 they made a movie based off of It's Kind of a Funny Story. I watched the trailer for the movie and it seems like a decent movie, but not a good book to movie adaptation. With next weekend being Thanksgiving weekend and the beginning of hunting season, I will most likely watch the movie with how much school I have off (yes, that is right my school district lets us off for hunting season, that tells you something about where I live).
     It was interesting to see that Craig had different words for what he liked and disliked. Tentacles were bad things or things he did not want to do. On the other hand, Anchors were good things that he enjoyed doing. It was also interesting to see his Tentacles and Anchors change throughout the novel.
     The cover was brilliant. At first when Craig said he enjoyed drawing maps as a kid, I figured it was a map, end of story. But it is not just a map. In Six North he started to draw maps again, but not your normal street map. He started making head maps of fellow Six North patients. I am assuming that this head map on the cover is of Craig's head. Also, It's Kind of a Funny Story is split into 10 parts. Each of the 10 parts have their own piece in Craig's head map. It was a fantastic idea by whoever designed the cover art.
     Six North is an adult psychiatric ward on the sixth floor of the Argenon Hospital. Both teenagers and adult patients have to stay there due to renovations on the kids floor.
     At Six North, Craig meets many people. Almost none of them are normal, but in this book normal is over rated. Craig meets Noelle, Bobby, Muqtada, Jennifer/Charles, Humble, President Armelio and so many more odd characters. 
     For about the first 100-150 pages of the book it was very slow paced and I quit reading it for long periods of time because it did not interest me. Not until Craig got into the ER did the plot speed up and become more interesting. I  highly doubt I will reread this book because, frankly, I do not have the time to be mad at this book for the first 100-150 pages. In addition to losing my interest, those pages were extremely depressing.
     The message that Ned Vizzini seemed to be pointing at is that no matter how many issues or problems you have, there will be someone else that has it worse.
     Overall, It's Kind of a Funny Story was a decent book, I would only recommend this book if you are a very patient person, to wait the first 100-150 pages until the plot picks up. But the message of the story is reflective. If any of you readers have read this, what was your opinion of the book?
~Casey     

Reaction to the full length 'Vampire Academy' Trailer
























     

     Vampire Academy has come a long way from its original teaser trailer. But I am still not completely sold on the movie. Do not get me wrong, I fell in love with the book series. I am just not quite sure how it will be adapted to film. 
      Recently my parents and I watched Mean Girls so when people were talking about how the trailer sends off that vibe, I now understand. That is not a bad quality though. It makes the movie more appealing because of its comedy qualities. The movie seems to have more comedy than the book, it is less serious. The main thing I dislike about that is the movie seems like it is kind of making fun of vampires.  
      I had hoped that Rose, played by Zoey Deutch, would explain more about the races of the vampires. Since there are three different kinds, Moroi, Dhampire, and Strigoi. But we cannot get everything we want, especially considering the length movie trailers are. 
      From what I have seen, I like the casting choices. For example, I am thrilled that Dimitri, played by Danila Kozlovsky, is actually Russian. The only thing I dislike are the accents. I understand Dimitri having an accent since he is from Russia and Rose points it out periodically. But Lissa, played by Lucy Fry, and Christain, played by Dominic Sherwood, both have Australian and British accents even though they are playing Americans. I understand that they can never drop their accent but I wish it would have been a little bit harder to tell that they had one.
       I loved seeing snippets of some of the well known scenes. For example scenes like, the dance, the lust charm, Strigoi vs. Dhampires and Dhampire training. I was so excited to see those and they look great! Some of the cenes I did not remember from the book, so I will definitely be rereading Vampire Academy closer to the movie's release date! 
       I may have mixed emotions but I am still looking forward to the release of Vampire Academy on February 14th of 2014, Valentine's Day. Also here is the link to the full length Vampire Academy trailer if you have yet to see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ERrnYunBg
~Casey   

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by, Richelle Mead

























Summary:

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever. (Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 420

Release Date: November 19th 2013

Review:
     Yet again I will warn you that this is a spoiler review. I can assure you that I would not have wanted to be spoiled on anything in The Fiery Heart. If any of you have not yet read The Fiery Heart or any of the Bloodlines novels I would suggest skipping over this review and to go pick them up at a local bookstore or library.

*Spoiler Section*

 

  I was thrilled when I learned that The Fiery Heart would be split in both Sydney and Adrian's points of views. But, this news also made me really depressed since every book I have ever read that has been split into two point of views in the middle of a series means that something bad is going to happen and the readers will have to see what is going on in both sides. I was correct to assume that I should not be happy for the motivation behind the split point of views.
    On to the romance. Richelle Mead had said that there would be so much more romance than there was in Indigo Spell. She was right. I enjoyed the romance in Indigo Spell more than the romance in The Fiery Heart. In the beginning of The Fiery Heart there was little romance but as the book progressed so did the romance. Especially in chapter 17. The reason I believe that I was more into the Indigo Spell's romance was because compared to The Fiery Heart it was sweeter. The Fiery Heart's romance was more intense. With that being said, Sydney and Adrian are my all time favorite couple from all of the series/trilogies I have ever read.
    In addition to Sydney and Adrian's blooming romance, others were blossoming. Angeline and Trey finally accepted that they are meant to be together regardless of what the Warriors of the Light think. Also, Jill and Eddie are kind of together. They kissed, but I am not sure if Eddie has gotten over the fact that he thinks he does not deserve her because she is a 'princess' and he is her guard. Truthfully, I just want them to get together already. I want to see Olive and Neil as a couple. It is hard to tell yet whether or not Olive likes Neil. But it is obvious that Neil is crushing on Olive. The most shocking relationship was between  Ms. Terwilliger and Malachi Wolfe. I loved both Adrian and Sydney's reaction to the news!
    When Sydney got Eddie to teach Zoey how to drive I was hoping that Zoey would begin to realize how the Moroi and Dhampires are not that different from humans. It worked for a little while but then her Dad would call and she was back to normal. If Zoey would have gotten along with them and even cared for them as much as Sydney does then the ending would not have occurred. 
    I have wasted a lot of time already, lets talk about the ending of The Fiery Heart. I had predicted after finishing Indigo Spell that Sydney would need re-education at the end of The Fiery Heart. This is the one time I wish I would have been proven wrong! I stated at the beginning that Sydney and Adrian are my favorite couple of all time. So I am going to be heart broken in Silver Shadows since they are now separated. It is like Origin by, Jennifer L. Armentrout all over again. Also, Sydney never had time to put the new ink on herself so lets hope that if she gets re-inked by the more powerful compassion ink. That with her witch abilities Sydney will be able to resist it. It is hard to believe that this major downfall all started by Adrian forgetting his 'love phone' in Sydney's car.
    My heart was going out to Adrian when he was going through spirit moments. I never realized how much it affected everything he does. Especially without  alcohol in his system. The simplest way to put it is, he is losing his mind. He is seeing Aunt Titania, the darkness of spirit is getting to him, and I know he will not get back on his 'mood stabilizer' medicine because he wants to be able to use spirit to see if he can catch her in a spirit dream. As much as I liked that Sydney wanted Adrian to stop drinking, it cannot happen. In The Fiery Heart he broke their deal a couple times because spirit was too hard on him and he could not take it.
    When Adrian went to the doctor for the 'mood stabilizing' medicine I was laughing so hard because the doctor told Adrian that he was bipolar. It was so funny because Adrian did not understand what bipolar meant and started flipping out, acting bipolar, to the doctor, without Adrian even knowing he was.
    Once Sydney, Adrian and Neil got to Court I started cracking up laughing.Adrian is such an idiot to think he can bring a light jacket to Pennsylvania in the middle of our winter. Especially when one comes from Palm Spring's climate. Some us from Pennsylvania could do that, but not someone who is not used to the harsh Pennsylvania winters. That is a recipe for disaster and it was. He was cold for a day or two until he got a heavier jacket.
    Whenever one of the six, I believe that is how many there are, The Fiery Heart book trailers would be released I would watch it almost instantly after being released. While I was reading The Fiery Heart I thought it was extremely fascinating to be able to put out sense or lines that were in the trailer and reading them in the book. I still cannot get over how amazing that feeling is. 
     I have heard from tons of people throughout the Bloodlines Fandom talking about how ugly these covers are. I somewhat agree to that. I would not go to the extent of calling them ugly but I am not a fan of them. That also goes for the Vampire Academy covers. I feel like they could be done so much better. I believe that is one of the reasons people are discouraged to read the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, as well as the fact that they are about vampires. Anyway, my point is that I think the covers could be better looking. This is the only time I will probably ever say this, but I would not mind book covers to be changed in the middle of the series,but only if they look better.
     I was disappointed that only one covenant meeting was held over the entire book. When Sydney first joined the covenant Ms. Terwilliger belonged to, I assumed that there would be at least a couple meetings periodically throughout the book. But, I stand corrected, there was only one meeting, and it happened in the second chapter of the book. It was kind of pointless, but hopefully in one of the two future books in the Bloodlines series something will come up about it.   
     I very much enjoyed the 'escape plans' Adrian would come up with. None of them were necessarily realistic but they always lightened the mood of the story and made me laugh.
     The title was named after the t-shirt Adrian had made Sydney when they were on a college party in Indigo Spell. The t-shirt was only brought up twice. Once by Sydney and once by Adrian. It was most likely named after that because that was one of the most meaningful possessions Sydney owned and had kept at Ms. Terwilliger's house. In the second to last chapter Adrian took the t-shirt since Sydney would no longer need it at Ms. Terwilliger's house while she is away at re-education.
      In The Fiery Heart, characters like Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series were brought back into the Bloodlines series plot line. I like that the readers of the Vampire Academy series are able to see their favorite characters. Also it is nice to be able to see how their relationships and lives are going. 
      Since the spirit infused blood ink used in Neil's tattoo worked against Strigoi, can it somehow be mass produced? The ink is not perfect yet but I wonder if they could also perfect it so that Strigoi can be eliminated.
      One of the questions I have about Silver Shadows is Sydney will have to testify for either her Mom or Dad in who should raise Zoey at the custody hearing. I am curious if  Sydney will attend since she is currently locked away at the re-education center. I wonder what will happen because if Sydney does not show up I am almost positive that her Mom and Carly, Sydney's other sister, will be suspicious.
      I could keep going on and on about all the events over the course of The Fiery Heart but that would take too long. Overall, The Fiery Heart was romantic, hysterical, an emotional rollercoster, exciting, hopeful and nerve racking. I absolutely love Richelle Mead's writing and creativity. With The Fiery Heart's major cliff hanger Silver Shadow, expected to be released on July 29th of 2014, is near the top of my list of most anticipated books of 2014. Also, I am excited to see the Vampire Academy movie on February 14th, Valentine's Day, of 2014.  Lets hope that centrum permanebit.
~Casey 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Catalyst by, Laurie Halse Anderson

























Summary:
Meet Kate Malone-straight-A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell "Early Decision Harvard" Pangborn III), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all-or so she thinks. Then, things change as suddenly as a string of chemical reactions; first, the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their own home and move in. Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's little brother. The days are ticking down and she's still waiting to hear from the only college she applied to: MIT. Kate feels that her life is spinning out of her control-and then, something happens that truly blows it all apart. Set in the same community as the remarkable Speak, Catalyst is a novel that will change the way you look at the world. (Via Goodreads.com)

 

Pages: 232

 

Release Date: January 28th 2002

 

Review: 

     This is the second book I have read of Laurie Halse Anderson. The first book was Fever 1793 that I read last May for my Social Studies class. I enjoyed her writing from Fever 1793, also she is my best friend, Kylee's, favorite author. 
     There are two different covers of Catalyst. I have the one pictured above, and I love the cover shown above. It is beautiful. People say not to judge books by their cover but sometimes it is a good thing.
      I could relate to Kate with her running habit and strategy  She would usually run at her pace and wait for the others to slow down because they went to fast, then really start running. I do the same strategy in Track & Field, as well as anytime I go running.
     The general message I got from the novel was, "what are you without your intelligence?" I got that because Kate felt that all that was to her was her intelligence and without that she was nothing. It made me wonder, what am I without my intelligence? That is a hard question to answer. 
     There are a couple different definitions to catalyst. The one use for this novel is about chemical reactions, which applies to the novel because Kate is in AP Chemistry which was her strongest subject. Plus the part of her life shown in the novel was like a chemical reaction. Catalyst also happened to be one of the words she had to define for her Mythology 231 class, the class she happens to despise.  
     I knew since the start of the novel that she would not be accepted to MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Even though I knew she was not going to be accepted it was depressing. To make matters worse, we then found out that her mother had gone there. Kate said that she was not always sad that her mom was gone, since she did not know her that well, but I feel like unconsciously she wanted to go to MIT to get to know her mom better. Kate actually did not attend her mom's funeral she had run away during it. That was how/why she started to run obsessively. 
    Since the beginning of the novel, I did not understand Kate's hatred toward Teri. She never quite understood why or how Teri used to beat her up in Middle School. Though I was not a huge fan of Teri when Teri stole both Kate's watch and heart necklace. So when Teri and her 'little brother', Mikey, had to move in with Kate's family after their house caught on fire I was not too mad or anything. I just did not like that Teri stole her stuff and bossed Kate around, but Kate could have stood up for herself or confronted her.
     I grew very attached to Mikey so when he got electrocuted when they were rebuilding the Litch's house, it was extremely depressing. Especially once you discovered that Teri was actually Mikey's mom not his big sister. Teri was such a wreck after Mikey's passing that she has to be sedated. Teri started to tear down the house because she was so enraged. 
    In the end, Kate decides to take a year off school and help Teri rebuild the house that Teri had destroyed. I like that Teri and Kate had gotten over their differences and became friends.
     Overall, Catalyst was funny, emotional, could possibly be based on true events, and included fantastic writing. I also have Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls that I will eventually read.
~Casey

Reaction to the Official Divergent Trailer & Movie Poster























      

     
     Above is the new poster for the book to movie adaptation of the novel Divergent by, Veronica Roth. This week both the first full length movie trailer and the final movie poster was released for Divergent. Personally the poster looks amazing, just the cast I am still not sold on.
     After watching the first full length trailer I am still not completely happy with the cast. The main two cast members I have a problem with are Tobias (Four), played by Theo James, and Tris, played by Shailene Woodly. They both seem like great people and actors/actresses but they do not look like what I pictured Four and Tris to appear. The main reason I have an issue with those two is Theo looks too old to be playing Four and Shailene is too tall and looks way stronger than I imagined Tris. Shailene is 5'8'', the same height as me, Tris on the other hand is about 5'2'' if that. That is probably the worst thing with book to movie adaptations. Not everyone will accept the cast as these group of beloved characters.
     I was really impressed with the trailer. After seeing the first one and knowing the cast I was not too thrilled about the release of the movie. But, this trailer changed my mind. Yes, I may not be sold on the actors/actresses yet, but they still have time to win me over. As well as I usually go see these book to movie adaptations for the book, not the movie. What I am trying to say is I go to see this book unfold on the big screen, there may be flaws but all I care about is that these books were good enough to have its moment in Hollywood, which is becoming a big thing lately.
     In the trailer, my favorite scene that was shown was when Tris goes zip-lining. It was amazing to have been able to see that in the trailer. I also liked the tattoo scene when Four shows Tris his tattoos of all five faction symbols on his back. Plus the dialogue in that scene about Four saying that he wanted to have every quality, not just be one of them.
      The one thing that they are lacking in the trailer was the explanation of what a divergent is. It is a hard concept to explain in a two minute trailer but I felt that they could have explained it better than they had. The audience that have already read the novel  knows what they are, but the audience who has not is confused and I feel for them. Hopefully in the next trailer divergent with be more defined.
     Overall, I was very impressed with both the trailer and poster. This is getting me pumped up to see the book take center stage on March 21st. If you have yet to see the trailer here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sutgWjz10sM 
For those of you who have seen the new trailer and poster feel free to leave your comment on both down in the comments!
~Casey
 

Babe in Boyland by, Jody Gehrmen























 

 

Summary:

When high school junior Natalie-or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper-is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected-especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover? (Via Goodreads.com)

 

Pages: 292

 

Release Date: February 17th 2011

 

Review: 

     After reading both Allegiant and Champion, I needed a break. Not from books in general, but series and trilogies. Both of those books had me in information overload and I was having trouble keeping things straight, so I needed a break. I had said in my Champion review that I would be reading Never Fade next but like I said I need a break. Instead, I picked up Babe in Boyland which was light and fluffy, exactly what I needed. I will continue reading single novels until November 19th, next Tuesday, which is the release date of The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. I have been anticipating that release since July when I finished The Indigo Spell. But after The Fiery Heart I will most likely read Never Fade.
     Back to the book at hand. Since Babe in Boyland's release in 2011, I have wanted to read it. I recently bought a hardcover of it at Ollie's for only $1.99, which I could hardly pass up. I am glad that I did only purchased the book for $1.99, it was a decent book and I may reread it, but I would not have wanted to pay $20 for it.
     When Natalie's best friend, Chloe entered for the first scenes I could picture myself as her. Not by appearance but some of her characteristics. We both have that deep sassy side but I can lose it if I want to, unlike Chloe. She is like that 24/7. Some of the things Chloe came out with reminded me of what I would say in certain situations. Another trait we had in common was our determination. When Chloe and Natalie were debating whether Josh actually loved Chloe or not, Chloe was determined to win the argument. I am that same way, but I have yet to argue over a guy and I hope to keep it that way.
     The basics of the novel is Natalie Rowan poses as a guy, Nat Rogers, and goes undercover at an all boy boarding school in town, Underwood Academy, to get the insight on how boys really think. It was conducted to save her Dr. Aphrodite love column for her school newspaper and to win 'Story of the Year'. That plan was named operation 'Babe in Boyland' hence the title of the novel. It was thought up by Natalie, and her best friends Chloe and Darcy who happened to be a part of the school play Underwood was hosting.
     How Natalie acted throughout her time spent at Underwood as Nat she should have been figured out. Not that I know boys better but some of the things she did or said was not something I had ever heard from a guy. Like her obsessive use of "oh my god" and so forth. Her male acting was inaccurate. 
     I like that Natalie realized that both of her friends, Chloe and Darcy, acted different around guys than they did around her. I could not agree with her more, I see my friends like that all the time. They claim that a boy will never change them, but it always happens. Guys tend to do the same as well.
     I automatically knew that Emilio and Natalie would end up together. Right off the bat when Natalie started crushing on him, as well as the first time she said about how hot he was, I knew he was going to be the love interest. As well as the love interest was Natalie's roommate at Underwood, it did not shock me.
     Though I did not think that Emilio would try to set Natalie up with his sister, Erica. I thought it was an interesting, funny and an unexpected plot twist. 
     Overall, Babe in Boyland had its funny moments and was a quick read. It fulfilled its purpose of a filler read until The Fiery Heart by, Richelle Mead is released. I probably will not reread the book but one of my friend wants to borrow it because I told her some of the funny quotes. I would not highly recommend Babe In Boyland but if you need a quick, light, fluffy, filler read, I would suggest it.
~Casey

Monday, November 11, 2013

Champion (Legend #3) by, Marie Lu

SummaryHe is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

(Via Goodreads.com)
Pages: 369

Release Date: November 5th 2013

Review:
     
If you have yet to read the Legend trilogy, I highly recommend doing so, it is my absolute favorite dystopian trilogy and I cannot recommend it enough. The writing, characters, world-building and everything about it is phenomenal. 




      
It took me about two days after I finished Champion, to process all the events that unfolded in the novel. That is not necessarily a bad thing; I was just mentally drained. I believe the main reason was because I didn't sleep much because I wanted to continue reading.

I loved the world map in the beginning of the book since the world is very different than it is now. The map was also depressing in how much chunks of land were missing compared to now. We also learn that the book takes place in the year 2132.

During Champion, Anden and June travel to Ross City, Antarctica. Firstly, Antarctica is basically a whole country of technology. When visiting, the guests have to wear special glasses that translate the language to English. They also have a point system. If I was a part of that world I would want to live in Antarctica. It comes across as a virtual game world. I would also want to live there because it is no longer a cold barren waste land, like Antarctica is now. I do question if they are Spanish. I say that mostly  because I could have sworn that one of the women was speaking Spanish until June put on her glasses. 

It was depressing when Thomas told June how he killed her brother. I guess since the first book that both Thomas and Metias, June's older brother, were gay and they had feelings toward one another. My prediction was confirmed, some had been in the other novel, but Thomas finally admitted his feelings for Metias. 

I did not expect June to be the cure for the plague the Colonies had spread in the Republic and in the Colonies. It turned out that it was from something the Colonies had injected her with when she and Day were in the Colonies during Prodigy. I would have never thought that would would help anyone, but June did get better. 

The Colonies and the Republic finally had it out. Most endings in dystopian novels do not end well since the world is so messed up. I thought that the government issues were solved nicely. Most dystopian novels way of life stays the same. But the Colonies and Republic got over their differences and tolerated one another. It was shocking at the end when some of the Republic's people spent time in the Colonies without any trouble.

When Day was shot by Commander Jameson, I expected the worst. I was almost positive he was going to die, I had assumed he would throughout the entire book since he was dying from the hole in his hippocampus region of the brain. Therefore, I had expected the worst. Especially right after Day was shot and saw his dead Mother. That triggered memories of another book where the main character died and he/she (I will not disclose who it is) went with their mother to wherever you go when you die. So, you can see my worries and concern of this scene. But, instead of Day dying and going with his mother back to his father and older brother, John, he survived both the bullet wound and the surgery on his brain. I was ecstatic that he lived, but depressed when June was told that the operation was on part of his brain that stored his memories and he will forget most of the events that had occurred over the last year or two. This included all his memories of June. But ten years later, when Day and Eden return to the Republic from Antarctica, Day recognizes June.
      
Most of my issues with dystopian trilogies are that the world is usually not resolved or fixed by the end of the trilogy. That usually occurs because it is not possible to resolve a world in three books. Marie Lu actually resolved a world within three books. The government and world is not perfect, but what country or government is.  With that said, I was still not completely thrilled with the ending. It had nothing to do with the world it was based in, but how we left Champion. To me the book is still open-ended. Anyone can assume that Day and June will get back together but the question is how and when. Since Day does not have all his memories of June, will she tell him of their past together? I hope that Marie Lu will come out with a novella set after the epilogue because I was not satisfied. I wish the ending would have included more than June and Day reuniting and getting reintroduced to one another. I wish it would have shown more years down the timeline and where they were and how their relationship was progressing. It annoys me that Eden, Day's little brother, did not slip up or say something about June to Day, especially when Eden was still a little kid. I figured Eden would have told Day about June after Day lost his memory of June.  It seemed like something Eden would have done.
      
Also included in the epilogue were the events during June's other Birthday's. It was sad, but bound to happen, when the readers were informed that Ollie had passed away. I loved that dog! He may not have been that big of a character but he was always there for June when she was depressed. It was also interesting to learn that Anden and June had dated for about four years and they broke up because June could not love Anden as much as he loved her. But that was not too shocking since it was easy to tell that she still had feelings for Day. Anden should have never expected her to stop loving Day.
      
It turned out that the Champion was Day. He was the Champion of the people, which was not a surprise. 
      
Overall, Champion was an excellent ending to the Legend trilogy, the only thing I was unhappy with was the ending where Day and June were re-introduced. I thought that was how Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl would end. Champion was action-packed, suspenseful, witty, romantic,a quick read and includes lovable characters. Marie Lu's writing is brilliant. I highly recommend the whole trilogy to anyone.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Time (The Darkest Minds #1.5) by, Alexandra Bracken
























 

Summary: 


Gabe’s life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skip tracer. This already almost impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first score, a young girl who won’t speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine.  
(Via Goodreads.com)

 

Pages: 89 (e-book)

 

Release Date: July 16th 2013

 

Review: 

     In Time was a refresher to me because it has been about a month since I finished The Darkest Minds. In Time was of use to me since Never Fade was released a few weeks ago and I will be reading it after I read Champion by, Marie Lu, released November 5th of this year. 
     In Time is a novella based during the events of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade in the perspective of Gabe. Gabe is a completely new character to the trilogy. He is a wannabe skip tracer trying to make money. At first, I was not a huge fan of him because he was treating Zu like a wild animal and called all the kids freaks because of their abilities. He grew on me though because his perspective of the kids changed and he was caring for Zu who rarely gets loved.
     Since Zu was brought back during In Time I wonder if she will be back in Never Fade or is that supposed to be the end of her story? I hope not, it does not end on a happy note. I am hoping that Gabe is not dead from getting shot in the chest, it is highly unlikely though, but one can hope and dream.  
     Also, along the way they run into Jane, the skip tracer that was always after Liam, Chubs, Zu and Ruby. That is now Gabe and Zu are joined by Bryson, for some reason I do not remember Bryson from The Darkest Minds even though I believe he was included in the book. But nonetheless, Gabe and Zu returns him from where he lived with a women named Della and her husband Jim. It turns out that Della is Liam's mom. It is such a small world, Alexandra Bracken is able to weave this web within her world.
      If you guys have read my The Darkest Minds review then you are aware that I was not too big of a fan of The Darkest Minds. But, I was willing to continue the trilogy and I am happy to announce that I am really excited to read Never Fade. I am a bit skeptical to know if I was not completely into The Darkest Minds due to Ruby's perspective or if I was not into Alexandra Bracken's writing. I am assuming it was the problem with Ruby's point of view but I am hoping to grow into her perspective.
      Before reading the novel, I could not figure out what the cover was a picture of. But, once I got a closer view, I figured out that the cover is a photo of tire tracks. It is an interesting cover design but makes sense with the skip tracers.
      Overall, I could not be torn away from Never Fade and it had me always wondering what was going to happen next. You guys should stay tuned for my Never Fade review that should be up in a couple weeks, once I finish and review Champion by, Marie Lu, I will be starting Never Fade.
~Casey 

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by, Tahereh Mafi
























 

Summary:


In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45. (Via Goodreads.com)

 

Pages: 103 (e-book)

 

Release Date: October 2nd 2013

 

Review: 

     After finishing Unravel Me, I could not imagine how one could love Warner even more. I was mistaken. In Shatter Me he is seen as a heartless monster in the eyes of Juliette. In Destroy Me, the novella is based between the events of Shatter Me and Unravel Me and is seen through Warner's eyes. I liked that the readers were able to see through Warner's eyes for the first time, not only do you experience Anderson's hatred toward his son but you also learn that Warner also views himself as a monster. Usually, readers see a book through the eyes of the mostly hated main character, the character almost always sees themselves as doing good to the world and actually believing in their cause. Warner is not like that though, he believes that The Reestablishment has all the wrong ideas and will never help anyone but themselves.
     I wish the novella would have continued because I wanted to see more of Warner's perspective but the novella did end in an appropriate spot. It ended when Warner first sees Juliette at the work sight, but Kenji uses his ability to make her invisible so he only sees her for a second or two.  
     It was amazing to see Warner say to himself that he was in love with Juliette. He was also willing to go against his father, Anderson, to keep Juliette safe because Anderson told Warner that he would put a bullet through her head when they found her, and he does keep his promises. The dreams he had about her broke my heart, she always ended up pulling a gun on him and wanted to kill him. 
     It was nice that in the back after the story there were some sample forms/pages. The forms were what Warner had read about Adam, Kenji, and Juliette. One of the forms thrown in there was one about Warner. The forms also showed Adam and Kenji joining The Reestablishment. Also included were the files from when Juliette was in the asylum, as well as doctor and police reports. 
     Yet again, the cover art was beautiful. I love the close up of the eye. It is really intriguing and makes you want to read the book because you want to have a magnificently beautiful book cover like that on your shelf.
    Overall, I was highly impressed with with Destroy Me and it took me roughly a couple hours to finish reading the novella because I was not a able to put it down. The only bad thing was that I want to read Ignite Me even more! But, I will have to wait until February 4th of 2014 for the conclusion of the Shatter Me trilogy. What we go through for the release of books we are highly anticipating!
~Casey  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi























 

 

Summary:

tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life. (Via Goodreads.com)


 

Pages: 461

 

Release Date: February 5th 2013

 

Review: 

     Compared to Shatter Me, Unravel Me included more character development, romance, emotion, and powers.
     Unravel Me was a rather quick read for me, once I reached close to halfway because Adam is not as moody and Juliette has her priorities straight. I wish Juliette would have seen sooner that she and Adam cannot work out, she will eventually kill him. I believe like the saying 'If you love something, let it go' deeply applied to Unravel Me because Juliette and Adam do not want to let go of their love for one another, but it is affecting Adam's health. It is affecting his health because it turns out that Adam's power is to stop other people's abilities. So when he touches Juliette his body is stopping her powers, but after a while his body is getting used to her powers, so it does not see her powers as a threat even though they are. His body is getting weaker by trying to fight off her powers, to kill everything she touches. 
     I liked Kenji's long speech to Juliette about how she is not the only one who has had issues and pulls her out of this irritating movement about how her life sucks because she cannot date Adam. Plus, she is ignoring everyone else at Omega Point that she could try to be friends with, but instead she is moping around and is feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she should be trying to win over everyone at Omega Point because they think she could kill them
     After finishing Shatter Me, I made it obvious to myself and my friend, Kayla, who has also read this trilogy, that I hated Warner and that nothing would ever change those feelings. Then Unravel Me came along. Throughout Unravel Me I felt so horrible for Warner. In Shatter Me, he appears to be a complete monster with no regard for other's feelings. It turns out that is a facade he put up and was molded into which is courtesy of his father, Anderson. Juliette is the only one who gets to see how good he actually is. I felt horrible for Warner when he told Juliette, when they were making out,  that she should call him Aaron, his first name, because he wanted her to know him as someone else, not who he had been before. When Juliette says his name she accidentally says Adam. I felt so bad for him because Juliette is the only person he ever opened up to as well as loved and she threw it back into his face.
      One major plot twist that I did not see coming was that Anderson was also Adam's Father. I had to reread that line for a couple minutes straight to make sure I processed it properly. Not only are both Adam and Warner both in love with Juliette but they are also brothers, awkward. I am assuming that Anderson has some power we do not know about due to the fact that all three of his sons, Warner, Adam and James, all have powers. But, I really want to know what Anderson's power is.
      Anderson is such a messed up person. in order to show Warner that he should not love someone, he shot Juliette in the heart! What kind of person does something like that? Thankfully Warner got the girls, Sara and Sonya, to heal her.
      In Shatter Me we discover that Warner is able to touch Juliette like Adam can, but like Adam the explanation of how is not solved until Unravel Me. Since Adam and Warner are brothers I guessed they could touch Juliette because they had the same power, I was wrong. Yes, they both can touch her but that is where both of the guys powers differ. Adam can stop people's powers. While Warner can read any one's emotions and is able to touch someone with a power and redirect it through his body to someone or something. I would have to say Warner's powers are more useful than Adam's. 
      Warner and Juliette are who I would like to end up together. I think they are more compatible together than Adam and Juliette. Firstly, Juliette and Warner cannot hurt each other with their powers, they actually benefit from each other's power. Also, they are both better together because they understand one another. They both know what it is like to not be loved by someone who is supposed to care for you. Warner already gave his heart to Juliette all she has to do is return the favor.
       I took the title,Unravel Me, as to get below the surface of someone and I am almost positive the title was going in the direction of uncovering the past and secrets of Warner's life. Also to really understand him and his motivations. 
       I felt like Unravel Me was more focused on romance than the war effort, so I am curious to see how the war is wrapped up in the last book, Ignite Me.
      I was glad that Juliette's power was discovered in Unravel Me. In Shatter Me, all that was known was that she kills people when she touches them and was sometimes physically strong. We did not learn a whole lot more about why she can kill people when she touches them, but we did discover that her strength is triggered by strong emotions, which was not too hard to figure out. But it was nice that it was confirmed.
     The cover for Unravel Me is beautiful! The only thing I dislike about the covers are that Shatter Me originally had a girl on the cover, but was later changed to an eye as well. I just am not a huge fan when publishers decide to change the covers drastically halfway through a series/trilogy. But I must admit that the cover is breath-taking. 
      Overall, Unravel Me was better than Shatter Me and included action, romance, major plot twists, character development, and the discovery of new powers. I am highly anticipating the release of Ignite Me on February 4th of 2014 (the same day Cress by, Marissa Meyer is released).
~Casey    

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by, Veronica Roth

























Summary:

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. (Via Goodreads.com)


Pages: 526

 

Release Date: October 22nd 2013

 

Review: 

       For those of you that have read any of my reviews before, you know I do not include spoiler warnings. I believe that if you read a review you want to be spoiled. But all hands off for this review. If you guys have yet to read Allegiant or any of the Divergent novels, I would recommend leaving now and read them first. 
*Spoiler Section!* 

       Now that you are aware, lets move on.
     It took me quite a while to really get engrossed in the novel. Unlike the other Divergent novels where I was instantly connected, I had to get myself motivated to read. My friends wanted to borrow my copy so I had to read it quickly. Once I reached about the halfway point, it was difficult for me to put it down. Especially the last 50 or so pages when Tris dies.  
      Some of the problems I had with the novel were the split point of views. When I first began the novel, I was excited for the split point of view between Tris and Tobias. It turns out I was not a huge fan. I had trouble determining which point of view was currently being used. They are both such different characters that I never thought it would be a problem. I also had a difficult time processing all the information.Most of the revelations all happened at the same time and there was to much to process. I wish it would have been split up into smaller chunks or have let us have more time to process all the information. 
       As most of you know by now, one of my favorite things to do while reading is to figure out what the title means. It turns out that the Allegiant is the organization of rebels against Evelyn and they want factions back in place.
       In the first two novels in the trilogy, being a Divergent is a huge deal. We learn in Allegiant, that being a Divergent means you are genetically pure. It deals with whether or not a person's genetic material is damaged or not. It turns out that back before all this, humans were trying to make the ultimate humans that would be perfect. It backfired but also somewhat worked. It eliminated certain genes, like stupidity, and aggression that was to be eliminated. But, it also took genes like compassion and selflessness, it all depended on the person. The Divergents were genetically pure, meaning they had all those qualities and were back to the way humans used to be. 
      I thought Tobias was being a moron when he kept whining when he found out that he is not a Divergent, he can just resist certain serums like the Divergents can. They were really not that special, the Divergents were just treated that way. There was nothing wrong with him.
      I felt like the Chicago was this dollhouse type ordeal because the people of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare were controlling the factions and such. It was if they were a dictatorship that was unidentified because they would erase every one's mind when they felt it was needed or give the faction leaders serums to use that they wanted to test. 
      I thought when the gang got outside of the fence they would find out some huge twist, like there was a plague that killed almost everyone and they could not leave because they could get killed by it or something. But, to be honest, I did not remember that this fence existed from Insurgent. I remember that the five factions were split up and somewhat separated but I did not remember them being forbidden to leave this magical fence of sorts.
       One of the main topics I would like to discuss are the deaths that occurred in Allegiant. This is the first book that I have ever come across that kills off their main character and he/she does not somehow come back to life. I am not going to say I always liked Tris, because I would be lying. Throughout these three books, I grew to like her. She was not my favorite female lead character, but she was on the list for it. I realized exactly how much I enjoyed her when she passed. For example, when it first happened I kept making excuses like someone would come and rescue her, or somehow she would pull through and live. But as much as I hoped, she ended up passing away. When she saw her Mom for a split moment I though she had somehow lived and was going to save her, but her Mom took Tris to wherever you go when you die. When Uriah first ended up in the coma, I knew he was gone and that he would never come back to life. But I did not want to accept it. Since his first scene in Divergent, I loved Uriah. He was funny, kind, optimistic, and strong-willed. I understand why Tris had to die, so she finally understood what it meant to sacrifice yourself, but why Uriah? He had a family that loved him, he lost most of his friends, why did he not live? That is my million dollar question to Veronica Roth, the author. I will deeply miss that pansycake. Not only does Uriah die in Allegiant, but he will not be included in the Divergent movie. Tori's death was kind of sad, right when she died. But once I found out that her brother, George, was still alive, it was depressing. She helped Tris and other Divergents because of her brother's death. I wish they could have seen each other, or I wish Tori would have at least known he was still alive before she died.  
      I understand why Tobias was depressed after Tris' death, but she would have never wanted him to be like that. She would have wanted him to be happy and to move on. I liked his idea in having Tris' ashes being spread from the zip-line, but I feel as though he should have done it right after her death, not grieve for two and a half years then finally spread them. It was not healthy. It was a good way for him to let go though, because he was getting over his fears and was doing something she loved and would have wanted to do again.
    The last thing I want to talk about is Peter. Unlike Insurgent, he did not play a big role in Allegiant. The one major thing he did was take the memory serum that took away most of his memories, but left his basic skills. I have heard a lot of people say why could he not have died in Uriah's place. I love Uriah and would have liked him to survive but in a way they both died. Peter was being a pansycake and took the easy way out, instead of facing what he had done. But really he did die, he is a complete different version of Peter than we know. This new Peter hopefully does not rip towels off of people, stab people in the eye with a fork, and does not hang people over a chasm.
     Overall, I was not completely happy in the way Allegiant ended but you cannot have everything you want. Allegiant is action-packed, depressing, an emotional roller coaster, and long awaited. The Divergent movie is due out in theaters on March 22nd of 2014, I am not sure whether or not I will go and see it. I may wait until it is out on DVD because I am not a huge fan of the casting or the discussions to eliminate Uriah from the movie.
~Casey 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sweet Evil (Sweet Evil #1) & Sweet Peril (Sweet Evil #2) by, Wendy Higgins

SummaryEmbrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns? (Via Goodreads.com)


Pages: 453


Release Date: May 1st 2012



------------------------------------------------------------------------



SummaryAnna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. 

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life? 

(Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 371

Release Date: April 30th 2013


Reviews

I started reading Sweet Evil with my best friend, Kayla, on the bus ride for our school trip to Philadelphia on Friday. We were both halfway through the novel by the end of the day. It was a great experience to read the novel with her because we were able to immediately fan girl over something as we read the scene. The only problem occurred was when one of us was ahead of the other, but we were eventually at the same location in the text.
     
At Celebrate the Book, I bought Sweet Peril and I read through both Sweet Evil and Sweet Peril rather quickly. They are both super quick reads that are hard to put down. 





My opinion on several characters changed throughout both of the novels. For example, in Sweet Evil I was not a huge fan of Ginger, but when I learned more about her and her past in Sweet Peril, I sympathized for her and gained a better perspective of her. I sympathized with all of the Nephs at one point or another. I felt horrible that none of them, except Anna, had ever been loved by someone or had the ability to love someone. 

I have several predictions for the third and final book in the Sweet Evil trilogy Sweet Reckoning. I believe Kope will end up dying to protect Anna, like Scott did in the Hush, Hush Saga. I also think Anna's Dad will somehow betray them, I just get a bad impression from him. But, no matter what happens, Anna and Kaidan will end up together, lets face the facts, it always happens. But it will be well deserved. Among the obvious, they will also manage to kill all twelve Dukes. My wishful thinking also hopes Kope and Zania, Ginger and Blake, and Jay and Marna end up together as well. 

These novels show that money does not buy happiness. The Nephs have anything any person could want or imagine, but they are missing love. Like I stated before, they cannot love or be loved in return, it is rather depressing. They are all great kids, with minor flaws that are mostly their jobs, but they have no choice in their lives and are forced to do horrible tasks. I am hoping in the next book that all the Nephs get their wanted happily ever afters, unlike Flynn and Gerlinda. I am also hoping that they will go to heaven when they pass, instead of hell were they are sent because of no fault of their own. 

When I first started Sweet Evil and progressed to about halfway through the novel, I thought it was safe to say there would be no love triangle in the story, I was wrong. It was different than the typical love triangle, including the usual new bad boy and the close best guy friend. Jay, Anna's best guy friend, was no way involved in the love triangle, which was good. The other side of the love triangle was filled by Kope. I have nothing against Kope, but I think he is more suitable with Zania. Plus Kaidan and Anna make a great couple!

I loved Kaidan. He was a combination of several different male leads: Noah Shaw, Mara Dyer trilogy; Will Herondale, Infernal Devices trilogy; Daemon, Lux series; and Jace Wayland, The Mortal Instrument series. Kaidan is anything you could wish for in a guy.

Both Jennifer L. Armentrout and Wendy Higgins are very close friends and I think it would be brilliant if both of them would co-write a series together. Both of their series are amazing, but the combination of the two authors would be like Heaven on Earth.

I very much enjoyed the the romance between Anna and Kaidan, I felt like the romance was not at all overkill, I actually wanted more. The one romance I was sad about is Ginger and Blake. Since Blake is dating a human girl, Michelle. It is for show but that is one of the reasons I feel for Ginger and the others. All the Nephs should be able to live their lives the way they want, not what they are told to do.

Overall, Sweet Evil and Sweet Peril were quick, witty, intriguing, and totally swoon worthy. I am highly anticipating the release of Sweet Reckoning in April of 2014.