Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Rose Society


TITLE: The Rose Society
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
RELEASE DATE: October 2015
PUBLISHER: P.G. Putnam's Sons
PAGES: 395 pages
SERIES: Book 2 in The Young Elites trilogy
GENRE: Fantasy
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12

SUMMARY: Adelina Amouteru has been cast out by the Dagger Society, a group of Young Elites, for her betrayal to their leader, Enzo (see first book: The Young Elites). She flees Kennetra with her sister to find other Young Elites to build her own army so that she may get her revenge on the Inquisition, who almost killed her and continually fight to destroy the rest of the Malfettos. But what will Adelina have to give up to get everything she wants? Her family, her friends, her love, even... her powers?

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Enzo inherited a throne. Guilietta relied on her royal blood. Queen Maeve rules Beldain because she was born to it. But true rulers are not born. We are made." (Lu, 375)

WHAT I LIKED: In an MTV interview from 2013, Marie Lu described The Young Elites series "as 'X-Men' meets 'Assasin's Creed'. It's superheroes but in this fantasy, renaissance-y society." I absolutely love the world building in this book. The renaissance style with different kingdoms, clothing, traditions, and language. I love the characters' names: Adelina Amouteru, Raffaele Laurent Bessette, Guilietta, Magiano, Violetta, etc. It seems like they just roll off your tongue, you want to say them over and over. It completely blows my mind that there are people out there that can just make this stuff up. One of the reasons why I will always be a reader, and never be the writer. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I am a huge fan of Marie Lu, I absolutely loved her Legend series, it is easily in my Top Ten. The first book in this series, The Young Elites, was great, easily a five star book. I loved watching the evolution of Adelina's character from a scared, beaten, little girl to The White Wolf. However, I felt like this second book was missing something, and I can tell you exactly what it was: Enzo. The absence of Adelina's love interest that brought out her softer side really altered the storyline. Throughout the entire novel she became more and more angry, the evil just eating her up inside. However, that will not stop me from reading the third novel in the series to see how her character evolves again. 

READALIKES: Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi


Thursday, February 18, 2016

All The Bright Places

TITLE: All The Bright Places
AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
RELEASE DATE: January 2015
PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf
PAGES: 388 pages
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grade 9+ (curse words, sex, and mature situations)

SUMMARY: Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet in the most unlikely of places... six stories up on the ledge of the school's bell tower. They couldn't be more opposite, Theodore is the weird kid who goes an entire month wearing a cape, or comes to school painted red even though it isn't school spirit day. Violet is a beautiful blonde who is dating the most popular guy in school. But when a school project brings them together, both of their worlds open up to new things, neither one ever thought possible.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Before I die I want to..." (Niven, 135). I really loved this part of the book (Violet - 145 days till liberation), because it made me actually stop and think about what I would write. After doing a little research, I found out there are real places around the world with boards just like in the book. You can find a list at this website: I'm even going to include this idea in my Book Talk about this novel and leave it up on the board to give my students the opportunity to write what they would do.

WHAT I LIKED: Reading this book, I became completely obsessed. I absolutely could not put it down. I felt like Violet and Finch were my best friends, I laughed with them, I cried with them. Literally... real tears. Throughout the progress of this book, I could feel my mood changing. At the beginning of the book I felt sad and depressed with all of the talk about death and depression. But then when Violet and Finch start on their wandering adventure, I felt happy and alive, like I could do anything. Then at the end, it was nothing but tears; complete streaming down my face, snot dripping out of my nose, crying for the last fifty pages. There is nothing I love more than when a book makes me connection with the fictional characters to the point that I become emotional over a situation in the book. That is the kind of writing that makes authors awesome.


READALIKES: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

MOVIE RELEASE: Production begins Spring 2016


Monday, February 15, 2016



TITLE: Unrivaled
AUTHOR: Alyson Noel
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PAGES: 432 pages
SERIES: Beautiful Idols (Book 2 due out May 2017)
GENRE: ChickLit, Mystery

SUMMARY: Tommy is an Oklahoma boy who moved to LA to become a rock star and find his rich and famous father. Layla is a good girl who will go to any length to get to journalism school in New York. Aster is a spoiled princess who just wants to get her name out there as the hottest new model. The thing that these three have in common is they've all just agreed to do anything it takes to win Ira Redman's competition to promote his nightclubs. Aster is in it for the fame, Layla is in it for the money, and Tommy is in it to finally prove his worth to his father. But to what extent will they go to win? Blackmail... sex... murder?  

WHAT I LIKED: This book is kind of like Gossip Girl meets The Apprentice. There is just enough drama to excite any high school girl to read this book, but the drama doesn't stop. It will keep any reader completely enthralled till the very end and then begging for book number two!

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I didn't like that the main characters were all eighteen-years-old but hired to promote a nightclub where underage drinking and drugs are very prominent. At the beginning of the story, Layla's boyfriend is upset with her for getting involved in this scene because his brother died of an overdose right outside the club door. In another scene, Layla and Tommy, step behind the bar to take shots of the top shelf tequila. Don't even get me started on all of the talk about sex, and how Aster gets drunk, sleeps with a famous actor only to wake up and not remember a thing. coming from Alyson Noel, I was disappointed in all of the mature situations presented in this book. 

READALIKES: Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard

BOOK TRAILER: this blog was posted before the book's publishing date and a book trailer has not been made at this time

The School for Good and Evil

TITLE: The School for Good and Evil
AUTHOR: Soman Chainani
PAGES: 488 pages
SERIES: Book 1 in The School for Good and Evil trilogy (Book 2: A World Without Princes, Book 3: The Last Ever After)
GENRE: Fantasy

SUMMARY: Sophie is the picture perfect rendition of a fairy tale princess, Agatha is the complete opposite. But every day, Sophie makes the trek to the dark graveyard to visit Agatha for her good deed of the day. Why would she do this? Because every four years the School Master visits Gavaldon and kidnaps two children, one for the School of Good and one for the School of Evil. While other parents are locking their children away, Sophie is leaving treats on her windowsill to welcome the School Master. But when Sophie is taken away with Agatha by a dark shadow, she knows there must be a terrible mistake when she is dropped into the School for Evil. But how can she prove to the School Master that she is the princess that belongs in the School of Good?

FAVORITE QUOTE: "In the forest primeval, A school for good and evil, Two towers like twin heads, One for the pure, One for the wicked, Try to escape you'll always fail, the only way out is, through a fairy tale."

WHAT I LIKED: I loved the world-building in this book. All of the descriptions of each room of the castle, the differences between the School for Good and the School for Evil. The descriptions of the characters are amazing. The black and white drawings throughout the book only improved my imagination. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The complete cliff hanger that is the ending of this book. I'm talking stop in the middle of a sentence, what just happened, I can't get book number two fast enough!

READALIKES: Ever After High series by Shannon Hale

MOVIE RELEASE: In Development from Universal Studios


Monday, February 8, 2016

What If : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

TITLE: What If : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
AUTHOR: Randall Munroe
RELEASE DATE: September 2014
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGES: 303 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12, adult (full of totally over-your-head information)

SUMMARY: The title of this book pretty much sums up the entire thing. This is a book full of scientific answers to complete absurd questions. There is no better way to explain it. People write to the author with questions like: "What would happen if the earth stopped spinning?", "What would happen if everyone actually had only one soulmate?","How hard would a hockey puck have to be shot to be able to knock the goalie backward into the net?" The author then completes some crazy experiment or off-the-wall calculations to get the correct answer.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Disclaimer: Do not try any of this at home. The author of this book is an Internet cartoonist, not a health of safety expert. He likes it when things catch fire or explode, which means he does not have your best interests in mind."

WHAT I LIKED: I was challenged to read this book in the audiobook format as part of the YALSA 2016 #HubChallenge. When I saw that it was Wil Wheaton as the narrator, the fangirl in my totally came out and I had to read this book first! I realize that listening to the book, I missed out on all of the infamous cartoon drawings by the famous XKCD, but I honestly do not think I could have gotten through the book on my own. A lot of the explanations are completely over my head, and I consider myself highly intelligent, I mean, I have three college degrees.  

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I thought this book was enlightening, eye-opening, mind blowing, etc. There is no other way to describe it. But it is definitely not for the Young Adult audience. Any geek, or out-of-the-box thinker would enjoy this book. Fans of the TV show, Mythbusters would enjoy this book. But its audience is definitely limited.

READALIKES: The MythBusters with Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage

BOOK TRAILER: Listen to the first three minutes of the audiobook as read by Will Wheaton

5th Wave

TITLE: The 5th Wave
AUTHOR: Rick Yancey
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
PAGES: 457 pages
SERIES: Book 1 in the 5th Wave series (Book 2: Infinite Sea, Book 3: The Last Star)
GENRE: Science Fiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades: 8-12 (some sexual references)

SUMMARY: Cassie is a survivor. She survived the 1st wave when all the world's electricity was wiped out by an electromagnetic pulse. She survived the 2nd wave when tsunamis wiped out all the coastal cities. She even survived the 3rd wave, called the Red Death, a plague that killed 97% of the remaining population, including her mother. The 4th wave sends Silencers, humans implanted with aliens. The worst wave of all, because you don't know who you can trust. But Cassie knows how to survive, don't trust anyone. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "If you don't kill all of us all at once, those who remain will not be the weak. It's the strong who remain, the bent, but unbroken like the iron rods that used to give this concrete its strength."

WHAT I LIKED: I liked how this story keeps you on your toes. You're constantly asking yourself, "Is he an alien? Is she an alien? Can you trust him? No! Don't trust him!" I really have to admit that there were no slow parts to the story, it might be close to 500 pages, but I couldn't put it down. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The story changes perspective frequently between Cassie, Evan, and Zombie. I feel like as soon as you get used to Cassie's voice and her storyline, her lone survival, it switches to Zombie in this tough, military lifestyle. At first it was annoying, but as you start to see the three storylines intertwine, and you begin to learn things that the character doesn't know. Then for all three characters to end up together, I really look forward to reading the second book and finding out how the clash of all the different characters and their personality help them all survive together. 

READALIKES: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

MOVIE RELEASE: January 22, 2016


Monday, February 1, 2016

Bone Gap

TITLE: Bone Gap
AUTHOR: Laura Ruby
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PAGES: 345 pages
GENRE: Mystery, Fantasy
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12 (curse words, sexual references)

SUMMARY: Finn O'Sullivan is an outsider in the small town of Bone Gap, Illinois. Often called names such as Moonface, Sidetrack, Spaceman, and beat up on a regular basis by a group of boys he calls the Rudes. Finn is alone in the world, his mom ran off to Oregon with a man she met on the Internet, his brother, Sean always at work as a paramedic, even Roza disappeared. But Finn is the only one that knows Roza didn't disappear, she was kidnapped, and no one in Bone Gap will listen. So it is up to Finn to find the mysterious girl who magically appeared in the barn, and magically disappeared the same way. 

WHAT I LIKED: This book received several awards, and was listed as one of the Top Ten Books For Young Adults in 2016. It received nothing but five star reviews by readers on GoodReads. When I saw this book listed over and over for different awards, I just knew it was a Must Read. I enjoyed the way that the author described things in the story, especially the physical appearances of the characters. How do you describe a person's face if you can't really see it?

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Although it seems like everyone in the world absolutely loves this book... I did not! To me, it seemed like the story had ADD, it jumped all over the place. It was difficult for me to tell what was currently happening and then what was a flashback. So many of the storylines seemed pointless, for example, when Finn was with Miguel building the fence. There were two short chapters about this, but did they ever finish building the fence? Reading the story, it seems like a Realistic Fiction book, but then this horse appears that takes them riding off cliffs and through the sky? What was in that honey? Are the characters high and these midnight runs are actually a dream? And what happened to Roza? Where exactly has she been all this time? Without giving away spoilers, let me know just say that if you're the type of person that likes to figure out mysteries, you will never see this one coming! 


BOOK TRAILER: none found