26 April 2013

Partials (Partials Sequence #1)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Dan Wells
Format: Paperback
Pages: 468
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (via Goodreads): The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

My Thoughts: This is one of those long books that don't feel long once you finish it. I'm glad because it is very long!

It didn't take me long to get into the book and want to help find a way to solve the worlds problems. I was with Kira a 100% of the way. I also loved that she was a medic because we could get background on what was happening that other characters in the story just wouldn't have.

There was enough action to keep me interested, there was enough emotion for it to feel human, enough science to make sense, and enough politics for make me believe it could really happen. There was also a love interest portion which was good again for the human aspect of it.

I thought it was interesting how the two sides thought of each other. There are already so many examples of this in real life that it's not outside the realm of possibility  This story could happen. It could be real. The scariest part is that the dates suggest that it won't happen too far away from right now if it does. Books like this drive me nuts! I don't want the world to go like this. If it does, I want to die in the first wave of people because I won't survive!

In Conclusion: I was too into this novel. I will be reading it again very soon. I read the second one right after and even more quickly than the first. I love this series. It has every genre and every emotion. It's great! I recommend it for sure!

Warning: The third in the series isn't out yet...I found out the hard way!

22 April 2013

Crossed (Matched #2)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Ally Condie
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (from Goodreads): In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake. Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the first one in this series and the second one wasn't a let down. That said, it didn't exceed my expectations either. I felt like the middle part kind of dragged and the ending was too sudden. I kept thinking, "Is this it?" I was waiting for more of a wrap up or more of a 'to be continued' but it never came. Right near the end, there was a time jump...I think. I'm not quite sure what happened there but I felt like the ending was a bit lacking in emotion too. I would have been a wreck but they were cool about the whole thing. That bothered me a lot. The whole thing was about feelings and being together but in the end it was just...blah.

I liked that the characters and the plot were both realistic. Nothing happened and made me think that it was unrealistic. Sure, the Society is gross but that's the point. Everything that happens in plausible. 

Closing: This was quick but check out the first in the series for more. I'm going out to buy the final book in this trilogy tomorrow (which is actually April 3 if you are curious since this is sooooo late) and I'm excited. I have high hopes for the conclusion.

If you like this series also check out Delirium; they are very close in both theme and plot.

18 April 2013

Audrey, Wait!

Audrey, Wait!Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Robin Benway
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (thank you, Goodreads): California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is

My Thoughts: Alright ladies and gents, this is going to be short because I read this a while ago, and was too lazy to review it. Whoops. Anyways, I really did like this novel. Emphasis on like. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. What I did love though, was how it was written. I love it when it feels like the author has left a piece of their personality on the page, and Robin Benway certainly did. The plot was a little bit far fetched for me, but seeing it for $4.99 at Chapters, I couldn't pass it up. The major thing I didn't understand was how someone could become so well known, and stalked just because an ex-boyfriend wrote a song about her. Isn't that what Taylor Swift does? And as far as my knowledge, her ex's aren't terrorized like Audrey was. I also preferred Evan to, (I really wish I could remember the other guy's name.... oh my this is embarrassing.) okay the other guy. It was okay. I really enjoyed the writing. Couldn't get a grasp on the plot.

Final Thoughts: Decent, and quick. Cutesy read. 

15 April 2013

Our hearts go out to those in Boston. Stay safe. 

Love Unrehearsed

Love Unrehearsed (Love, #2)Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Tina Reber

Pages: 400ish
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 8 out of 10

Sequel to Love Unscripted

Summary (thanks, Goodreads): There is no rehearsal for true love.

When A-list film actor Ryan Christensen ducked into her pub to escape his screaming fans, never in a million years did Taryn Mitchell think her life was about to change forever. But now, eight months later, after a whirlwind romance, Taryn wakes up in Ryan’s Hollywood hotel room to find a diamond to die for on her left ring finger—and her face splashed across the cover of every gossip magazine.

Ryan’s very public proposal is catnip to the tabloids, his management team is worried, and Taryn must figure out how a small town girl like her fits into his glittering world. What does it take to make a relationship work amidst telephoto lenses, daily on-set temptations, and jealous fans who will stop at nothing to keep you from walking down the aisle with the man of your dreams?

With no script to follow and no chance for a dress rehearsal, Taryn and Ryan will be forced to take the plunge and risk everything to make their love last

My Thoughts: So, to be totally and completely honest with you, I really didn't think that Love Unscripted needed a sequel. Not going to lie, I appreciated the sequel, but I didn't find that it was crucial to have. I liked seeing how the characters matured, and how their lives turned out. Especially Marie (wtf happened there?!). But, some of the plot kind of bothered me. At some points it felt like the author was just writing the sequel because the publishing company wanted her too (which very may well be the case, who knows). Plot lines were introduced that I thought needed much more explanation, and a little bit more closure than we got. I know there is technically a third, but it follows the story of two other characters I won't name because it's a spoiler. I don't think I'll bother picking that one up. I liked seeing what happened with everyone, and for the most part, I like where the story went. Good read. Long read. 

Final Thoughts: Good, but not really necessary. I'll probably re-read both Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed again.  

14 April 2013

Extreme Vinyl Cafe

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Stuart McLean
Format: Hardcover (others available)
Pages: 265
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (via Goodreads): If you ask them, Dave and Morley's friends will tell you that no matter how long you've known people, they can still surprise you.

After all, no one expects to see a grown man dive into the trunk of his car to chase a rat. And despite what they may claim, few people are actually prepared to have their backyard, never mind their twelve-year-old son, shoot to stardom on YouTube's Most Watched Videos. And yes the sight of an 87-year-old bungee-jumping off a cruise ship is...unusual. But well-wishers at the Vinyl Cafe will advise you to be philosophical about such things.

No matter who sends a volley of nails through your truck window, which mannequin is disrobed or how green your skin turns when your mom leaves town, life marches on. In Extreme Vinyl Cafe bestselling author Stuart McLean regales us with the wild impulses, and extreme behaviours of Canada's favourite characters at the Vinyl Cafe. 

My Thoughts: At first, I wasn't really into this book. I had no idea where it came from or how it ended up on my shelf. I'm still not sure. I think it just materialized there one night while I was asleep but never noticed. Anyway, I thought that it was short enough that I should just suck it up and finally read it. I'm sad to say that I'm not a fan of short stories. I like to get with my characters and stick with me. I was happy to find out that this uses most of the same characters. I was sooooooo glad I didn't have to keep learning new characters; my mind can't take that. I was also excited to find out that most of the stories were pretty funny. Some of the short stories in this book had me laughing so hard and others had me face palming because, really, who gets into these kinds of messes? My favourite story might have been the one about planning funerals because something like what happened in the story would happen in my family. 

This book was easy to pick up and put down. It was okay that I had to stop reading to do my homework because they were short stories and I could easily keep up with what was happening. I found that I became quickly interested in each story once I started to read it. 

Something else that was good was that the author was answering fan mail (all of these letters were hilarious). It taking place in Canada was something nice too; it doesn't happen very often.

Final Thoughts: You will enjoy this book more if you already enjoy short stories or if you only have small blocks of time to kill. If you enjoy making fun of people that do stupid things then this book may give you a few good chuckles. I will not be buying the other books in this series but I can see myself returning to this one whenever I feel like having a laugh. I thought that it was more for a grown up audience though and it's quite different than the YA I normally read. 

P.S. What kind of music do you want at your funeral?

13 April 2013

Love Unscripted

Love Unscripted (Love, #1)Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Tina Reber
Pages: 668
Format: Paperback

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (thanks Goodreads): An A-List Movie Star…
Ryan Christensen just wanted to be an actor. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine a life where fans would chase him, paparazzi would stalk him, and Hollywood studios would want to own him. While filming in Seaport, Rhode Island, Ryan ducks into a neighborhood bar for a quick escape from legions of screaming fans…and finds much more than he expected.

A Small Town Girl…
Nursing a recent heartbreak, Taryn Mitchell believes men are best kept at a safe distance. But when Ryan Christensen unexpectedly bursts through the front door of her pub, she can’t help but be drawn in by his humor, charm, and undeniable good looks. At six foot two, with dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and an incredible body, Ryan has every girl in Seaport swooning. But Taryn isn’t every other girl.

A Relationship that Doesn’t Follow the Script…
Despite her better judgment, Taryn soon finds herself falling hard for Ryan. But is their bond strong enough to survive the tabloid headlines, the relentless paparazzi, and the jealous fans who seem determined to tear them apart?

My Thoughts: Okay, okay. I admit it. I only picked this up because I was having post Reckless depression. And okay, I admit that I went to Goodreads to find something, anything, that was at all close to the perfect world that S.C Stephens created. Plus, Love Unscripted was also mentioned in the acknowledgements at the end of Reckless, so I thought... how badly could this really go? Well, dear ones, my pathetic attempt to find some semblance of Kellan and Kiera's relationship paid off! I'm so glad that I picked this up. I've been very into the whole fame thing lately, which has been tainting (and by tainting, I mean making totally making amazing) my dreams about sexy celebs. So, we get to know Taryn and Ryan. At first, I didn't know what I thought of Ryan. To be honest, I didn't really know what I thought of Taryn. In the first chapter, she kind of prides herself on not caring that Ryan is a celebrity, but as the story progresses, it's obvious that she does. And, okay, if some tabloid or bitchy co-star started spewing lies about infidelity, I would probably have doubts too. So, I don't know why this bothered me, but it did. And, since trust is a big thing when you have the famous hunk, it bothered me all the way through. I really liked Marie, and I liked the relationship that she and Taryn had. I also really enjoyed how the author wove the story together. There were subtle hints at future happenings that, unbeknownst to me, pushed the plot forward. I really did enjoy this novel. I read it quick, but it is a pretty good size. I promise it's not an erotica. Ryan Christensen can be added to my list of fictional hunks I'd like a piece of!  

Final Thoughts: Good, easy read. Kind of long. If you want a romance, this is for you. 

10 April 2013

Matched (Matched #1)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Ally Condie
Format: Paperback
Pages: 369
Rating: 7 out of 10 (See more on our rating system HERE)

Summary (thanks Goodreads): Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Take: Like I said a few weeks back (technically I said it five minutes ago but since we somehow managed to get a month ahead on reviews it was a few weeks ago for our followers...), I am really, really tired of love triangles. They suck the life out of me. From now on, I'm going to try and ignore them. Wish me luck. 

I like Cassia; I hate the position she is in. I feel bad for Xander. I'm sad when bad things happen to Cassia and her family. I would hate to live in the world she does. Books like this make me so happy to live in the world I do, even with all the bad things that happen to us. This book really makes you appreciate that ability to choose. I could totally see where this future world would come from. At times though, I felt that it was slightly predictable. 

Ally Condie does a really good job describing the world and all the characters in it. You grow attached to the people in it. 

This was an easy and quick read. It didn't require a lot of thinking so it's a great book to read between really difficult books. It's like a book-vacation!

So: I feel like this book was a lot like Delirium and reading them back to back might have been a poor decision but it was still really good. I will be buying the rest of the series as soon as I'm finished this review.   

P.S. I love this cover and that dress!

This is really short so maybe some awesome quotes?
“Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.” 
“Is falling in love with someone's story the same thing as falling in love with the person himself?”
“Once you want something, everything changes.”
“In the end you can't always choose what to keep. You can only choose how you let it go.” 
“We could have been happy. I know that, and it is perhaps the hardest thing to know.” 
Do not go gentle.” 
“Why are some things easier to write than say?”
“That’s how I know they are dreams. Because the simple and plain and everyday things are the ones that we can never have."

Okay, I'm done. Have a great day!

6 April 2013

The Red Riviera

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Kristen Ghodsee
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads): This compelling ethnography of women working in Bulgaria’s popular sea and ski resorts challenges the idea that women have consistently fared worse than men in Eastern Europe’s transition from socialism to a market economy. For decades western European tourists have flocked to Bulgaria’s beautiful beaches and mountains; tourism is today one of the few successful—and expanding—sectors of the country’s economy. Even at the highest levels of management, employment in the tourism industry has long been dominated by women. Kristen Ghodsee explains why this is and how women working in the industry have successfully negotiated their way through Bulgaria’s capitalist transformation while the fortunes of most of the population have plummeted. She highlights how, prior to 1989, the communist planners sought to create full employment for all at the same time that they steered women into the service sector. The women given jobs in tourism obtained higher educations, foreign language skills, and experiences working with Westerners, all of which positioned them to take advantage of the institutional changes eventually brought about by privatization.Interspersed throughout The Red Rivieraare vivid examinations of the lives of Bulgarian women, including a waitress, a tour operator, a chef, a maid, a receptionist, and a travel agent. Through these women’s stories, Ghodsee describes their employment prior to 1989 and after. She considers the postsocialist forces that have shaped the tourist industry over the past fifteen years: the emergence of a new democratic state, the small but increasing interest of foreign investors and transnational corporations, and the proliferation of ngos. Ghodsee suggests that many of the ngos, by insisting that Bulgarian women are necessarily disenfranchised, ignore their significant professional successes

My Thoughts: I had to read this as a textbook for my anthropology class. It turned out to be more interesting than I thought. I felt that, at times, the author was repeating a lot of information but, considering that this was a textbook for me, it was a good thing because I could retain the information she was giving the reader. There was a lot of information to take in. I thought that I would hate this book but it was actually pretty good. I love finding out how other people in the world live, even if it isn't all bright and sunny there.

This is the type of book that makes you want to talk about what is going on in the world. You want to talk about those issues that affect women, and all people. 

There are enough pictures in the book to explain the setting. The country and areas which the author refers to are clearly described and so are the people that she interviewed. It was great to have the point of view of those that lived this life, not just someone standing on the outside looking in. 

I also must say, though it's kind of rude of me, that I'm glad the author didn't say the solution to the countries problems would to be more like Americans. The west isn't as great as it seems. At times, though I know it has a lot of downsides and I didn't have to live through what these people did, I believed that their old way of running things sounded better than dealing with all their hard times. Maybe I was just looking for an easy way out.

I cannot imagine what the lives of these people are really like but it was great to get a small glimpse of it. I really feel for these people.

To Finish: I thought this was a fairly good book. It wouldn't be something that I would have just picked up for fun but it was still interesting. If you are interested in the world, other countries, or economics then you should check out this book. It's short, a quick read. 

4 April 2013

The Goddess's Choice

The Goddess's ChoiceReviewer: Kristen
Author: Jamie Marchant
Pages: 374
Format: eBook
My Rating: 7½ out of 10

Summary (thanks, Goodreads): Samantha's ability enables her to discern a person's character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek's makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake. Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha's arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek's powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.

My Thoughts: I'm always very hesitant to pick up books that are re-tellings of classic tales.  More often than not, I don't appreciate them nearly as much as I should (for example, Beastly by Alex Finn). This was most definitely not the case with The Goddess's Choice. At some points, I even forgot that it was in fact based off of a fairytale. I appreciated the whole fairytale part of it - the whole magical world, kings and queens type of deal - because it didn't feel like it was being forced on me. I could picture everything as it happened, and just how the author described it. Once I started this book, I couldn't stop. Trust me, the door bell rang more than once, and I ignored it. I felt like there was action on every page, and I just couldn't wait to get to the end to find out what happened. It's written well, extremely well. I fell in love with most all the characters, and I appreciated how developed they were. Another thing I really hate is when one main character is the obviously dominate part of the duo. Again, not the case. Samantha and Robrek are both equal, in almost every way. For that, I thank the author. Anyways, I hate it when the only thing keeping you from falling in love with a character is the fact that the author didn't have them live up to "the in my head potential". Not the case here, I fell in love with characters instantly. Can I also take a moment to appreciate how little things about characters came to fruition in this novel!? Seriously genius on Jamie Marchant's part. This book isn't to be taken lightly, and there are some definite blush inducing parts. However, they are done tastefully and only add to the novel. I definitely, without a doubt recommend this one! It was extremely well written, and the integrity of the story remained throughout!

Final Thoughts: I really encourage everyone to go pick this up! Good read, you won't want to put it down! 

1 April 2013

The Rescue

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (lots of love to Goodreads): When confronted by raging fires or deadly accidents, volunteer fireman Taylor McAden feels compelled to take terrifying risks to save lives. But there is one leap of faith Taylor can't bring himself to make: he can't fall in love. For all his adult years, Taylor has sought out women who need to be rescued, women he leaves as soon as their crisis is over and the relationship starts to become truly intimate. When a raging storm hits his small Southern town, single mother Denise Holton’s car skids off the road. The young mom is with her four-year-old son Kyle, a boy with severe learning disabilities and for whom she has sacrificed everything. Taylor McAden finds her unconscious and bleeding, but does not find Kyle. When Denise wakes, the chilling truth becomes clear to both of them: Kyle is gone. During the search for Kyle, the connection between Taylor and Denise takes root. Taylor doesn't know that this rescue will be different from all the others, demanding far more than raw physical courage. It will lead him to the possibility of his own rescue from a life lived without love and will require him to open doors to his past that were slammed shut by pain. This rescue will dare him to live life to the fullest by daring to love.

My Thoughts: How better to start a book than by jumping right into the action and adventure? Is there any other way to write a novel than to make the reader fall in love with your characters right away? Two of the best things about this book were that you get thrown into the action and that after the characters "get together" (no spoilers, I mean, it's a Nicholas Sparks book, I know you saw this coming) the book still has more to say. The story doesn't end because the characters seem happy thought, sometimes, I think that maybe my emotions would have appreciated it. 

Another plus was that the characters had depth. I despise characters that are flat or one-sided. Yes, characters are allowed to have a sad past or hate themselves or go through hardships that the book doesn't live through. Characters are allowed to keep secrets. They are complex, just like real people. I think that more author's should embrace the back story. 

Unlike some of Sparks' other novels, I felt that this one constantly had something happening. I always had to turn the page and find out what was happening. I couldn't help but to be pulled into the story. It helps that Taylor is a firefighter but it was more than just that. Also, I was glad that Kyle was a big part of this story. He was adorable and I totally understood what Denise was feeling and why Kyle's problem was just that...a problem. My cousin had the same problem growing up and it does affect a great deal of their lives. It's a lot of work. It was a good thing to add. There was, however, a part that I didn't think was necessary. I think Sparks used one part simply to make people cry and it worked. I think he could have done what he did another way but then again, that's a risk you take when you pick up a book. Sometimes author's just feel the need to do certain things, I understand. I won't hold it against him, as much as I really want to. 

In Conclusion: This may be my favourite book by Nicholas Sparks. I thought that it had just enough action, romance, and drama to keep it exciting. This novel doesn't have chapters that are a "waste of time" or that you could live without. Every part of this book works together to build something incredible. If you like any other Sparks' books, you'll definitely like this one too. I will be rereading this book for sure.

Fun Facts:
The Rescue was the first novel by Nicholas Sparks to debut at # 1 on the New York Times bestseller List?
In the process of writing this novel, Nicholas struggled with severe writer's block?
The main character was named for the producer of the film versions of Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember?
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