Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reviews- Vacation reads

So I was on vacation for the last few weeks and instead of bombarding everyone with multiple posts and reviews, I figured I would just do one big post with short reviews on all the books I read!
The Unwritten Rule
By Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...


This was a great book. I definitly took you right back to being in high school, when every emotion is confusing and there are all sorts of silly social rules that you are expected to follow- even when they make no sense at all. I loved how Sarah explained everything she was feeeling for Ryan and how she really tried to stay away from him for the sake of her friendship, which was really kind of a crappy friendship. Brianna was a pretty crappy friend for Sarah, but I liked that you really got to see why the became friends and why Sarah felt so loyal to her.

One thing I really appreciated was Sarah's parents. So often we see really bad parenting going on in YA books, but here her parents, especially her mother, see what's going on and give her unpressured advice. They express that they wish Brianna was a better friend without asking Sarah to ditch her, and mention the growing relationship with Ryan and the possible fall out while still letting her make her own mistakes.

Overall it was a great summer read, and I look forward to reading more Elizabeth Scott books.


Rules of Attraction
By: Simone Elkeles

The sequel to Perfect Chemistry!

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.


I love Simone Elkeles, so of course I love this book. Once again Elkeles takes a pretty standard plot and theme and makes you read it like it's the first you've seen it. This book follows Alex's brother Carlos as he moves to Colorado to try and straighten out under his Alex's watchful eye. Carlos is full of attitude and bravado and he quickly runs into trouble, despite trying to be good. Soon he is living with a professor and his family, including his classmate Kiara. Much like in Perfect Chemistry, Carlos and Kiara find themselves in a love/hate relationship, that blossoms into the real thing.

This is another books with great parents. Kiara's parents not only step up for their own children, but go to bat for Alex and Carlos as well. I was so amused with Kiara's dad and how he had this whole secret life (which I' not going to give away) that he had tucked away but was willing to put it on the line for Carlos, both because Carlos was a good kid and because Kiara really cared about him.

In my opinion Elkeles is the queen of summer reads. Any of her books are great beach reads and this is no exception.


By: Alex Flinn

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

This was such a fun book, which I'm glad to say will be coming to theaters sometime this winter. At the heart of it is a traditional fairy tale, with the handsome but cruel "prince" being cursed to learn a lesson about true beauty. This modern retelling weaves in the use of the internet and chat rooms to give beast an outlet, where he meats the Little Mermaid, The Frog Prince and several other familar charecters.

Set in NYC, we see the prince, Kyle Kingsbury, run across a real live witch and when he plays a cruel trick on her, she curses him and he becomes beast. His father, once it can't be fixed, quickly ships him off to live in a brownstone with the maid and a blind tutor. When Kyle catches a thief in his rose garden, he trades the mans life for his daughters. When she arrives, she obviously is ticked (kidnapping will do that to you), but over time she see's Kyle as the person he has become, more then just a beast and a far cry for the obnoxious teenager he was.

The story follows a predictable path, but it stays current and entertaining throughout, with just enough new plot points to keep it interesting.

By: Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey

When Serina Daeth, favorite concubine of the Elf-Lord Dyran, conceives a half-blood child by him, she flees his wrath into the desert, where she quickly succumbs. But the child, born in Serina's dying moments, is rescued by a friendly dragon and raised with her own draconic brood. As the child Shana grows, she develops prodigious sorcerous powers--so strong that it seems she might be the fabled Elvenbane, powerful enough to free the enslaved humans from their elven oppressors. The dragons come to fear her unplumbed power, though, and cast her out. With a renegade elf-lord and his half-blood servant, and the aid of her remaining dragon friends, Shana prepares to challenge the elfish supremacy. Though battle is joined, a sequel is plainly on the way. Thoroughly rooted in genre traditions--with elves, dragons, unicorns, and sorcerers--but some variations make it more enjoyable than the average example: theses elves and unicorns, for instance, are cruel and dangerous, where in most fantasies they are shining examples of superhuman purity. Overall, then, despite shallow characters and a lack of real tension (we never doubt that Shana and friends will succeed), an entertaining adventure.

I recieved this book as a Goodreads First Reads book.

this ended up being a great book, and I'm really excited to go read the sequels. At the start I had trouble getting into it though. The first couple chapters, which were mostly about Sarina Daeth and consisted of her recapping how she became head concubine seemed a bit choppy to me and I struggled to follow who everyone was and to get into the story. However, once we got into the meat of the story, with Shana taking the lead, the story really exploded and I flew through the rest of the book.

I loved that she was raised by the Dragons and we got to see this world that was created around them. It was fun to see these giagantic animals trying to raise a child and cope with the idea that humans are more then just stupid animals.

Once Shana is forced into the world of elves and humans, it became a great hero journey, as we followed Shana as she claimed her birthright and really came into her own as a powerful wizard.

This was a fun book once you got into it and like I said, I'm excited to see how Shana's story finishes.

Ball Don't Lie
By: Matt de la Pena

Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong.

But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.

A breakout urban masterpiece by newcomer Matt de la Peña, Ball Don’t Lie takes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.

This is another great book by Matt de la Pena. Sticky is a great charecter who we see trying to rise above his situation by playing basketball. The plot jumps around in terms of time and we see how Sticky became a foster kid, we see the different foster homes he lived in, we see how his relationship with Ahn-thou progresses and mostly we see how basketball gave Sticky an outlet and hope.

I especially enjoyed all the parts of the story that took part on the court. We saw a group of guys from all different backgrounds come together because they love to play ball. It became a family of sorts for Sticky, who really needed that kind of supposrt system. I really loved how in the end we see Sticky get the chance to make it big, without really finding out if he makes it or not. I like that it leaves it up in the air, but you get the sense that Sticky has really made it, and taken the chance to rise above.

In the end, great book.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
By: Carrie Ryan

In Mary's world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


This was an excellent book. I'm a sucker for a good dystopian, and this was a great one. It's hard to say alot without giving the story away, but the long and the short of it is that Mary lives in a town that in essentially under seige by the Unconsecrated, who they keep at bay with a large fence. When Mary's mother becomes Unconsecrated, Mary is given an inside look at the way the Sisterhood operates and begins to mistrust the power-structure she lives under. At the point that the walls are breached and the town is destroyed, Mary and her friends and family exit the compound via a fenced in path and find themselves adrift within the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

I loved Mary- she is a strong charecter who holds out hope to find something that she knows is out there (the ocean) without being able to prove it. When others become disillusioned and are unable to take risks for fear of what is out there, Mary steps forward and follows her heart. The were certainly sad moments in this book, and charecters that you grow to really care about don't survive, but I like the fact that there isn't always a happy ending.

This book does end with Mary discovering something about the world she lives in and she gets her chance to carry forward. I'm excited to get my hands on the sequel Dead Tossed Waves, and see what else happens in the town that are surrounded by the forest.


So that was my two weeks worth of reading. I still have a whole pile to go, but for right now I'm concentrating on doing homework for Graduate School, which has jsut begun for me. I'll be finished with my summer residency at the end of July and then I'm off for another road trip, which means more reading time! Coming up next I have The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos and Faithful by Janet Fox, plus Mockingjay is coming out soon and as we all know (or should know) Hunger Games trumps all!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I'm glad you liked it, too. I can't wait to read the sequel!