May 27, 2011

The Big Crunch

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
Published: January 1, 2011 by Scholastic Press

June and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.
This is not that kind of love story.
Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when June starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.

       This book is one that I haven't seen much of anything about in the blogosphere. I was sold on that summary...About 2 lines in I knew I needed to read this book. Plus look at that awesome cover! Anyway, this book deserves way more attention than it's currently getting. 

Reasons I love this book: 
  • it's a contemporary that isn't shallow- there are a ton of books floating around out there that are not my idea of a good read (Gossip Girl-like novels just aren't for me), and this one is different. It's not as deep as a Sarah Dessen novel, but it's just the right combination of realistic and ideal love
  • indie vibe- I really like indie movies (ok...mainly popular ones like Little Miss Sunshine and (500) Days of Summer) and this book reminds me of one because it's very clever
  • Wes + June's narration- totally unique and entertaining- this book's narration (especially Wes' parts) reads like a John Green book and I love me some John Green
  • the cover- I love illustrated covers, and there's an abundance of Katherines (oooh what a geeky joke...), I mean an abundance of photographs on YA covers. I just love the storyboard kind of feel to this one and the colors are perfect- it's what made me pick up this book I hadn't heard anything about

Huh, what?:
  • how Wes + June behave right after they're separated- it's probably the closest thing to reality, but they each do such stupid things!
  • Jerry Preuss- something about him is so annoying- maybe his fanatical obsession with becoming class president? Or his interfering with Wes and June getting together? Both? I think both.
  • my book is upside-down- anyone out there read this and have an upside-down book? The title is pressed into the "cover" but it ended up being the back...just something that messed with my head (since I always lay my current read down resting on its front cover- it's a weird habit)

Is this the end?
  • Yes, I'm pretty sure this is a stand-alone book, which is nice since I'm a bit overly emotionally invested in a ton of series right now. 
  • there's an author's note at the end about where the original draft ended and I'm glad it didn't end there- it would have been about half as long. If you pick up this book, read the author's note because it's kinda cool to think about how different the story would have felt

Favorite quotes:
  • Also, the orange juice in Minnesota tasted like gasoline. Even worse than Kansas and Illinois. She thought about that as she pulled on her parka. Why should the orange juice taste different in Minnesota? Didn't it all come Florida?                                  - June  pg. 58
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion- that was the answer. He willed himself to burst into flames. He felt a spot of warmth in the vicinity of his liver, but it didn't last. That was the problem with SHC. It never happened when you needed it most.                         - Wes  pg. 195

4 robots

A book that deserves more attention! I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a good contemporary read.

Acquired: Bought

May 19, 2011


Fallen by Lauren Kate
Published: December 8, 2009 by Delacorte Press

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

     So this book is one that people seem very divided over, they either hate it or love it. It was recommended to me by a friend who loved it (but then again, she's Team Gale so I'm not so sure about her judgement...) so I figured I'd read it. It sucked me in pretty quickly, which surprised me because to me everything about it screamed melodramatic love story and I'm not exactly on the hunt for books that are similar to Twilight. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • Sword and Cross- I usually don't enjoy boarding school settings, but this one I liked. It was a nice twist having a rundown school by a graveyard instead of another fancy rich kid school like I typically see in other YA books (maybe I'm just reading the wrong books?)
  • Daniel- he's kinda sexy and mysterious, plus he's just the right amount protective of Luce where it's sweet and not overbearing
  • plot- yes, this book is about fallen angels (I'm guessing you figured that out from the title) but that's not all it's about. From the first page you know that it's about love throughout time and reincarnation, and watching Luce figure out what was going on kept me reading. (If you like books with love stories about reincarnation I highly recommend The Pace by Shelena Shorts!)
  • Penn- she's the most believable/normal character and even though Luce doesn't always value her friendship it was refreshing to read their interactions (p.s. what Penn goes through is no bueno)

Huh, what?:
  • big revelation- this seriously missed the mark for me. You know, the important part when the heroine finally finds out what's going on? Well, I was completely sucked into this book until I hit that part. All the sudden it's like everyone Luce has ever spoken to is dropping in revealing that they're part of what's going on. It's like the author was almost done and then decided she could make this into a series so she threw all the characters she liked into the mix. One was hinted at in the book and another one is a surprise that makes sense...but the others are just...there going "oh by the way we're important to the series too". 
  • Cam- I just think he's bad news every time he shows up but Luce is a sucker and I'm sick of heroines who blindly follow anything with testosterone. Who goes off alone with mysterious dudes without so much as telling a friend where they're going?

Is this the end?:
  • Nope; the sequel, Torment has been out for awhile and is getting a paperback release mid-June. The 3rd book, Passion, is coming out the same day as that paperback, June 14. (I hate the Passion cover by the way)

Favorite quotes: 
  • She tore past the rows of plain headstones. At one point they must have been upright, but now they were so old that most of them tipped over to one side or the other, giving the whole place the look of a set of morbid dominoes.            - Luce  pg. 86
  • And Luce brought up the rear, considering what might happen if she were to give her parents her own personal tour of the cemetery. Here's where I served my first detention... And here's where a falling marble angel nearly decapitated me... And here's where a reform school boy you'd never approve of took me on the strangest picnic of my life.                 - pg. 275

3 robots

Kept me reading but unraveled completely at the end. I'll probably read the sequel. 
Read Fallen instead of Hush,Hush and read The Pace if Fallen is your kind of book. (Heck why not read it anyway-it's good)

Acquired: Swapped for on

May 13, 2011

Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
(Chaos Walking Trilogy: Book 3)
Published: September 28, 2010 by Candlewick

"War," says the Mayor. "At last." Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge.

Read my review of the 1st book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, here.
Read my review of the 2nd book, The Ask and The Answer, over here.

        This is officially one of the most epic book series I have ever read. I keep trying to find new words to describe these books and I can't get away from that word *EPIC* because it just sums it up so well. This book is so full of action but it tackles some seriously deep issues at the same time and keeps you guessing the whole time. Patrick Ness is made of awesome and so are his books. GO READ THIS SERIES NOW *ahem* Sorry, got a little carried away there. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • no holds barred action- the actions starts right away with a war against the Spackle and a war for the support of the settlers between the Mayor and Mistress Coyle. As I've said before, I have such admiration for authors who get their hands dirty and aren't afraid to hurt or kill off characters (not that I'm saying that happens but you definitely get the feeling that no one is safe here)
  • narration- even faster swap-offs between Viola and Todd, each of which ends on a cliffhanger. This is very cool because it gives you 2 views on the war at hand and covers the same times (i.e. Todd sees a bomb go off and kill some Spackle, Viola hears the same bomb go off and hopes it didn't kill Todd once you switch to her view)
  • stakes are high- true of any war, but really driven home here as we follow a group of people who are possibly the only humans on the planet and are fighting the native species right as settlers begin to land....whoa. 
  • Wilf + Lee- 2 characters I already loved prove themselves again- I wish we saw more of them
  • Viola's armband- I know this part sucks for Viola and Todd but the drama of the band slowly killing her and how she put it on to get to Todd is palpable

Huh, what?:
  • 1017's POV- learning how to understand the Spackle noise took me a little while, but this is something that helps you realize how high the stakes are for everybody in this war
  • random Spackle is gay- 1017 is a random Spackle when we meet him in book 2. I mean, yeah he's angrier than the others, but still just 1 of thousands. It doesn't actually matter to the story that he's gay (yes, he's out for revenge of his one in particular but he would be whether his one was male or female) I don't know guys, it just felt a little like an afterthought to add some diversity, and while I'm a fan of diversity I wish it felt more intentional (Unrelated: Did anybody think Dumbledore was gay before JK said so? Because when I read them I could have sworn he had something going on with McGonagall in the early books)
  • Todd's quiet Noise- 1st Todd learns how to block his Noise from others, including Viola. Then he learns how to control people with it...just like the Mayor
  • the ending(!)- I do not like this ending! I'm usually a fan of ambiguous endings, but after all Todd and Viola went through I wanted to see this end on a high note

The boyfriend factor:
  • So once again, my boyfriend is in love with this series and kept bugging me to read faster so he could flip out to someone about everything that happened.

Is this the end?:
  • Yes. *tear*

Favorite quotes:
  • "Stop!" I shout, whirling round to see who fired, but all I see are confused faces among the women and men with guns-                                                                                                                 And Wilf standing over next to Lee.                                                                                                        And Lee with a rifle in his hands.                                                                                                           "Did I get him?" Lee says. "Wilf aimed for me."                                                                                       - Viola  pg. 527  (you won't know until you read the book why I found this funny)            
  • ...but it's been obvious since the beginning that wars make no sense. You kill people to tell them you want to stop killing them.                                                                                                                Monsters of men, I think. And women.                                                                                                   -Viola  pg. 287

5 robots
Go read this series- you won't be disappointed!

Acquired: Bought

May 6, 2011

The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
(Chaos Walking Trilogy: Book 2)
Published: September 8, 2009 by Candlewick

We were in the square, in the square where I'd run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren't no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men...Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode... 

       Read my review of the 1st book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, here.

       This book takes all the action of the 1st book and doubles it. If you thought the 1st one was the most epic book you've ever read, take a deep breath and set aside a few hours to read this cover to cover. Trust me, you won't want to stop reading, and you'll probably want to have the 3rd book ready as soon as you finish this one. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • alternating point of view (Todd and Viola)- it's really nice to know what Viola's thinking and feeling after the 1st book (half of which Todd spends wondering if Viola can even talk), and the transitions between the POVs are so smooth you'll barely notice
  • Davy Prentiss- there is so much character development with Davy. I was stunned to find myself rooting for him. After the ending of the 1st book I never thought that would happen. 
  • Mistress Coyle- I wouldn't call her a likable character by any means, but she's someone as determined and stubborn as the Mayor is and she's willing to fight for what she believes in. I definitely don't trust her. 
  • Angharrad (Todd's horse)- almost makes up for Manchee, although I can't at all picture Manchee in the settings and situations in this book

Huh, what?:
  • Spackle 1017- the only Spackle who will stand up to Todd and Davy. I'm guessing we'll see him again as the war starts
  • Todd and Viola on different sides, being manipulated against each other by strong, almost dictator-like aspiring leaders
  • the Mayor- SPOILERS!- Todd had him beaten finally and he let him go! I mean, I wouldn't want to lead an army into war either, but he let the Mayor go! -END SPOILERS-

The boyfriend factor:
  • my boyfriend is hooked on this series- I'm pretty sure he read this one in 3 days, plus he told me I needed to read faster

Is this the end?
  • Ha, read the end of this book and ask me again I dare you! This is definitely not the end- the 3rd book is Monsters of Men and is out now

Favorite quotes:
  • And a body tumbles from the pile, knocking right into me.                                                                   I scoot back fast, rolling over other bodies, scrambling to my feet, wiping my hands on my trousers, wiping the dead away.                                                                                                         And then another body falls.                                                                                                                I look up at the pile.                                                                                                                           1017 is working his way out.                          - Todd  pg. 309
  • I turn away from her to try and think but I'm wrapped so tight in bandages around my middle I can't properly sit up.                                                                                                                             Mistress Coyle runs a couple of fingers across her brow. "And now that you're back," she says, "I'm not at all sure you're going to thank us for the world to which we've returned you."                  -Viola  pg. 73

5 Robots
This book ups the epicness from the 1st one. This is a must-read series!

Acquired: Gift from a friend