Dec 30, 2011

The Six Rules of Maybe

The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti
Published: March 16, 2010 by Simon Pulse

Scarlet spends most of her time worrying about other people. Some are her friends, others are practically strangers, and then there are the ones no else even notices. Trying to fix their lives come naturally to her. And pushing her own needs to the side is part of the deal. So when her older sisters comes home unexpectedly married and pregnant, Scarlet has a new person to worry about. But all of her good intentions are shattered when the unthinkable happens: she falls for her sister's husband. For the first time in a long time, Scarlet's not fixing a problem, she's at the center of one. And ignoring her feelings doesn't seem to be an option...

I've liked most of the Deb Caletti books I've read so I'm always willing to try more. This book ended up being just alright but I wasn't really expecting to love it based on the summary. I'm not usually a big fan of stories where someone "falls in love" with someone else's significant other. I found it really hard to relate and I got tired of Scarlet obsessing over her sister's husband. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • Scarlet's neighbors - Everyone on Scarlet's street is very quirky. Maybe too quirky to be realistic, but that's alright since I'm not really looking for perfect realism in books. Scarlet's neighbors and their problems keep Scarlet from getting too wrapped up in her sister's issues and provide welcome breaks from Scarlet's worrying.
  • Shy - I've forgotten his real name, but I like him. He may be quiet but he knows what he wants. And Scarlet's friend Nicole reacts so realistically when Shy begins to show interest in someone other than her. Girls can be so catty and feel stabbed in the back by a friend who did nothing wrong. 
  • Hayden - I really like Juliet's husband Hayden. He seems so excited and hopeful about marriage and pretty much everything in life. Sometimes I wanted him to stop dreaming and actually do something, but overall I liked him and his outlook on life. 
Huh, what?:
  • plot - I had an issue with Scarlet's huge crush on Hayden. It just felt like he latched onto him because she had no life of her own or hobbies other than listening to people's problems. Maybe this was more of a problem with Scarlet's personality, but most of the plot is her ignoring Juliet while crushing on Juliet's husband.
  • Scarlet - Scarlet seemed very judgmental to me, especially when it came to Juliet. Yes, they are sisters so she knows Juliet very well, but to automatically decide that Juliet was going to hurt Hayden and basically do everything wrong is just ridiculous. Scarlet didn't even get reacquainted with her sister before writing the marriage off. She judged everyone and then got all tangled up in their personal problems without considering what they wanted. 
Favorite quotes:
  • Through the space between my fingers, I could see that Clive Weaver wore his old man slippers, too, and worse yet, his former mailman helmet, which all gave him the unfortunate look of an old nude guy in search of a mail safari.         -  pg. 79
  • I had a moment of fear-panic, looked at his hands. I saw with relief that they did not hold some round cartoon bomb with a sparkling, lit fuse, nor a Wile E. Coyote crate labeled Dynamite! Actually, he was smiling. I had to think a minute. I wasn't sure I'd ever seen Kevin Frink smile. He smirked, yes, but that only involved one corner of the mouth, not both.         -  pg. 154
3 robots
Not my favorite by Deb Caletti. Try it if you don't mind books about liking someone else's significant other.

Acquired: bought

Dec 27, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the picture to visit them!

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011
Kinda self-explanatory. These are the best books I read this year! They are in no particular order because it was hard enough to choose just 10 and organizing them would be even harder.

1. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken - 2011
Simply awesome fantasy with a headstrong heroine and an equally strong-willed, sexy magician. My review is here.

2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - 2011
This book is enthralling and action-packed, yet manages to have a sweet romance at the same time. I haven't posted my review yet but keep an eye out for it because it's definitely a rave review!

3. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh - 2010 
A dark and spooky romance with a twist. This one shattered my expectations and I loved it. Read my review.

4. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - 2001 (Jessica Darling book 1)
I can't believe I didn't read this book until now! Jessica's life is exactly like my life was in high school, but I didn't have a Marcus Flutey. I'm reviewing this one soon and reading Second Helpings as soon as I can.
5. Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger - started 2009
A soulless woman who investigates all things paranormal in a steampunk setting? Yes please. This is the most entertained I've ever been while reading a paranormal book. Reviews: Changeless (book 2), Blameless (3), Heartless (4) 

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth - 2011
This book got a little tense at times, but it made me care about every one of the characters. Four and Tris, despite having stupid names, are awesome. Review is here.
7. Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness - 2008-2010
I don't think I've ever read a dystopian series quite like this one. There are so many moral complications in these books full of mind-reading and battle-waging. Reviews: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer (book 2), Monsters of Men (3)
8. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa  - 2011 (Iron Fey book 3)
Team Ash all the way. This book made me tear up at the end, and I never cry when I read books (not counting Harry Potter). Review is here.
9. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - 2011
Very interesting concept about love being a disease. Not a rave review or a perfect book, but awesome all the same. Review is here.
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - 2007
If you haven't read anything by Markus Zusak yet, do it now! I've seen this book around forever but finally read it and I'm so glad I did. Read my review here.

Dec 23, 2011

Top Ten Books on My Christmas List (Top Ten Tuesday...on Friday)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the picture to visit them!

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings
Oooh, books I want. This is basically my wishlist of book I want that have already been released. The ones I want right now. I can haz?

1. So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev (Theatre Illuminata #3) - 2011
I love this series! It's so different from anything I've read and my BAM didn't have it. They didn't order it. They had 1 copy of each of the previous books, but the 3rd came out, all shiny and new, and they didn't want to carry it in their physical stores. Sure, they have room for a whole shelf section of Twilight, but they can't fit a few copies of an under-appreciated book? *end rant*

2. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty - 2003
I've heard so many good things about this series, so I finally read Sloppy Firsts (review to come!). It was amazing how much I could relate to Jessica, despite having been out of high school for a handful of years. And I really want to read more, but once again, not at BAM. 
3. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce - 2011
I really liked Sisters Red. And those covers! They are like a straight line to my cover-loving heart! 

4. Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson - 2009
For some reason, this is another one that's hard to find in-store. It's one of those rare books with a college-aged main character. I want this even more for the New Adult Challenge over at Tapestry of Words. Check it out!

5. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - 2010
Roadtrip + a guy you haven't seen in forever + possible crush = the perfect recipe for catching my attention.

6. Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams - 2010
I will confess that I do not like The Beatles, but this book sounds awesome. And I'm hoping that there's not actually that much about the band in it.

7. An Off Year by Claire Zulkey - 2009
Another college-aged character. Yay! A character who takes a year off? Yes please, I know we've all been tempted to take a break. Sometimes college feels like it takes foooorrrreeevvveeerrr.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - 2011
So, it seems like every book has a main character that's a different, possibly not human, why do I have special powers person. But this one seems different enough to work. Plus the main character is an art student. Bonus points!

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - 2011
You know that book everyone has read but you? Anna and the French Kiss is that book this year. The summary just doesn't appeal to me, but this one sounds great and if I love it I'll be reading Anna.

10. The Death Cure by James Dashner - 2011
The Maze Runner was alright. The Scorch Trials was INTENSE. I must find out what happens next!

Dec 22, 2011

Death by Bikini

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
Published: May 15, 2008 by Puffin

Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy. She lives on a remote tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. The problem is that her family's resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends - much less to meet cute boys. So when a smoldering Seth Mulo arrives with his parents, she's immediately drawn to him. Sure, he's a little bit guarded, and sure his parents are rather cold, and okay he won't say a word about his past, but their chemistry is undeniable. Then a famous rock star's girlfriend turns up dead on the beach - strangled by her own bikini top - and alarm bells sound. Is it too great a coincidence that Seth's family turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces...

This is a very short, quick read. The mystery isn't very complicated, and I felt that the book was more about Aphra and her family. I bought a giant book for $5 with all 3 of the books in this series. If I hadn't, I wouldn't continue reading this series although I probably would have liked it when I was a bit younger.

Why I love this book:
  • number of suspects - Like Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, there are only about 15 people involved in the story, which means the list of suspects is very short. This means Aphra has to reconsider some of the people she has recently met.
  • the "Smiths"- Mysterious guests that no one but Aphra's dad knows about? Suspicious... I won't ruin the surprise but it turns out some things in Aphra's life aren't quite the way she thought they were, and the Smiths may have something to do with that.
  • setting - I'd be pretty freaked out if I was stuck on an island with a dead girl and a killer. One storm and you're stranded with absolutely no access to the mainland. It definitely raises the stakes in a murder mystery.
Huh, what?:
  • murder mystery plot? - It's painfully clear at times that this was never meant to be a standalone story. The poor dead girl is all but forgotten in favor of Aphra's family drama. It's a bit like wait a minute...wasn't there a murder mystery going on here? 
  • red herrings - Anyone ever watch A Pup Named Scooby Doo? There was this kid Fred was bullied by named Red Herring. Fred always thought it was Red doing whatever had happened. But as the viewer you knew it was never going to be Red because that was just too simple of an answer (and maybe because the show had only been on for 5 minutes). Well, the same thing applies here, only in book format: the obvious answer is usually the red herring.

Favorite quotes:
  • Just like that. No explanation. He stood next to me, calmly sifting through yesterday's mail as if it were perfectly normal for him to have placed guests in a villa with plastic sheeting for walls and no kitchen floor.          -  pg. 30
  • Inches from my head, a banana leaf jumped and ripped apart. Half a breath later, a bullet splintered the palm trunk beside me. I dropped to the ground once more, the sound of my scream caught in my throat. I swore I could feel the vibration of his footsteps coming nearer.        -  pg. 152
3 robots
A short and light read that's not too concerned with the actual murder victim

Acquired: bought

Dec 15, 2011

Outside In

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
Published: February 15, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Me? A leader?
Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world.
Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside.
And something from Outside wants In.

       I love Maria V. Snyder's two other series, the Study series and the Glass series. (Check out my review of Spy Glass, the 3rd Glass book, here) This one for some reason I think is just alright. I don't know if it's because it's aimed towards teens or because it's dystopian rather than just fantasy, or maybe neither of these things. Overall I felt this sequel was pretty good, it just could have been mind blowing but wasn't. I enjoy a series where every single book is amazing and not just setting up for the next book. 

Why I love this book:
  • Riley - I like Riley because he's not a perfect love interest. He gets mad at Trella for being all heroic and not asking for help (which is a trait I think I'll call Harry Potter Syndrome).
  • bombings - There's an Insider bombing vital areas of Inside. Who would do this? Do they want an unknown entity to take over? The stakes to figure out who is sabotaging Inside couldn't be higher. 
  • mystery - What will the Insiders find when they reach their destination? Where were the Outsiders hiding/living? Why were the Outsiders exiled and why are they so touchy about it? 
Huh, what?:
  • plot - I liked Inside Out, but I just couldn't get myself engaged in this one. I didn't care enough about the subplot with who Trella's real mom is, or Bubba Boom, Ann-Jade, or Jacy.
  • the Outsiders - They're human but they speak like foreigners. I know most of Snyder's books have torture in them but I was really put off by it in this book when the Outsiders did it.
  • resolution - Trella and (most of) the Insiders are attempting to revolutionize the way the entire population of Inside lives. Shouldn't there be a bit more struggle? The higher the risk the higher the reward, right? 
Favorite quotes:
  • As I rushed to clean up, redlights came on. I skidded to a stop. Redlights? That was new. And creepy. I'd never seen it before or even heard stories from the old-timers. In Inside, bluelights stayed on for sleeping or in temporarily unoccupied areas. Daylights brightened occupied rooms and work places. Darkness stayed in places like the Gap between levels, and closed rooms.                 -  pg. 26
  • Finally Bubba Boom told me to cut the wire I had traced for him. I placed the wire in the cutters and drew in a deep breath. "Stop!" Riley yelled. He argued with Bubba Boom. "Trell, you need to cut that wire and the one on the other end at the exact same time," he said. I found the other wire. "This one?"  "Yes," Riley said.  "No," Bubba Boom said. "He's wrong. Cut only the wire I told you."  "No, don't. I'm right, Trell. He's going to get us all killed."               -  pg. 138-139

3 Robots
Not my favorite Snyder series. I'm hoping for a better 3rd book. 

Acquired: bought