Archive by Author

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

26 Mar


author : jeff sampson

pages : [hardcover] 288

memorable quote My idea of a fun night was diving into a massive pile of To Be Read pile of books stacked near my dresser… I was the girl who loved everything geeky.

summary :

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

review :

I’ve had this ebook on my TBR shelf for a long while after winning it in a contest–not because I was always putting it off, but because there are always other books for me to read. Well, I finally got around to reading Vesper–not realizing that it was the beginning of what I think is a series, possibly a trilogy–and didn’t enjoy this novel enough to consider reading further into these books.

Honestly, I feel like there was a potentially awesome concept, but one that I didn’t see until possibly the last ten pages of the book. The rest dragged on to a conclusion that would have been thrilling if I’d been excited for it. Instead, throughout most of the book, I was confused. Emily was haunted by her alter ego who wants to dress revealingly and party every night, for some reason. It was kind of a terrifying concept to me, because what would you do if every night you became a different person and had to deal with those consequences in the morning? I feel like that could have been more fully explored. Again, her parents seem to be mostly absent in this, and completely mindless of her breaking the rules every night. We really only consistently see her best friend reacting to Emily’s changes . . . and even then she has a different response each night, and not in an evolving/maturing way, either, only in a sporadic mess.

I gave this book one star for the interesting conclusion and the chance that future books could be much more intriguing and action-packed, though I don’t have enough time to invest more in this series on the chance that it could thrive. Another star because there was just enough intrigue to keep me going through the book. But I didn’t find the characters very interesting–Emily, when she was supposedly ‘geeky’, simply seemed like a ‘geeky’ stereotype, and then the stereotype of a party girl when her alter ego came out–nor were they particularly memorable. I’d suggest giving this book a pass.

2/5 stars

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

24 Mar

Vampire Academy

author : richelle mead

pages : [paperback] 332

memorable quote Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.

favorite character : rose

summary :

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

review :

I started reading Vampire Academy because I’ve been hearing a lot about this series, there’s now a movie about it, and also the library I visited was the smallest thing in the world and didn’t have a large selection. I figured now was the time I needed to give it a go, because I always wanted to give it a shot–even though if I ended up really loving the series, that meant there’d be a LOT of other books for me to read because it’s a long one and now there are spin-off books, too. Well, unfortunately, Vampire Academy just didn’t make the cut for me, like I’d feared it would.

First of all, I did like and appreciate how snarky Rose could be and following her adventures was mildly enjoyable. Still, the writing didn’t leave much of an impression to me because to my taste it was fairly bland with no exciting descriptions, no hint of intrigue. Instead halfway through the book I still wasn’t certain of what the plot would be. Shouldn’t each book, even in a series, have its own little plot? Basically I think that this first book is being used to set up something in the rest of the books. Much of it was fairly predictable. I don’t know if there’s going to be some big reveal later on that would shock me, but I don’t want to slosh through more books to find out.

Honestly, I can see why some people might enjoy these books. They’re definitely not hard to read and if you’re into vampires, the take they have on those creatures is pretty interesting. But for me, I was a little bored. I wanted more action, adventure, cool vampire moments–not endless, repetitive school and training days and then predictable little plot twists.

I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book or this series to anyone–and it already has enough followers that it won’t matter in the least. I’ll just say to anyone hanging on the edge like I was, thinking they should at least read the first book to see what it’s all about–maybe pick up something else instead.

2/5 stars

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

13 Mar

Since You’ve Been Gone

author : morgan matson

pages : [hardcover] 449

memorable quote I somehow knew that the particulars didn’t matter. She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing, certainly not a few measly hundred miles, was ever going to change that.

favorite character : frank

summary :

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Um…

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Wait … what?

review :

I was really looking forward to this novel not only because I’ve heard great things about it but also because I had the privilege to meet Morgan Matson at BookCon last May! She was so sweet and inviting that I knew I had to give her work a try. While I really did enjoy reading this novel and will definitely pick up more of her work, to me this was more of a feel-good read than an all=time favorite.

Since You’ve Been Gone is filled with many convenient coincidences which make the novel quirky and interesting. Honestly, if I only had one friend and she abandoned me spontaneously, not only would I be too depressed by that but I know I’d end up spending that summer alone because people who’ve known me my entire life but never paid any attention to me wouldn’t spontaneously become my best friends. And I know that’s because I’m a shy person and don’t go outside of my element. But Emily’s whole characterization is based around her shyness and unwillingness to go outside of herself more than she absolutely has to, or unless there’s an extrovert like Sloane around to draw her out of her shell. Honestly, most of the time Emily didn’t seem shy to me at all, just a little awkward and very afraid of horses.

The romance was sweet. At first I didn’t think I was going to like it at all but in the end it really grew on me. I think it was well-done, and wasn’t pushed to the forefront of the story which was really refreshing to see in a YA contemporary novel. The bulk of the story was about Sloan and Emily, like it should have been, and it was great to read about their friendship–even though if someone pulled a Sloan and up and left on me I’m not sure I’d take it as well as Emily did.

If you like YA books that are summer-y, full of fun adventures, and are a quick read, this is definitely a book for you. It’s a good story with some heart thrown into it and this will definitely keep your interest while you read it. While it might not be the best book you’ve read, it’s a good book to reach for when you’re feeling low, are on vacation, or need a break between emotionally draining novels.

3/5 stars

Favorite Book Friday: Jess from Bookworms in Dresses!

6 Mar

favorite book friday

Hey guys! It’s Friday again, and you know what that means: another favorite book from another blogger! Here’s Jess from Bookworms in Dresses! Check out her blog as well and send her some love! :)

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I feel like every time I was introduced to someone and told them I was a bookworm, the first question I was asked was: “Have you read House of Leaves? It’s, like, my all time favorite book ever!” Needless to say, maybe it was jut because I tended to hang out with all the “Indie music loving alternative hipsters”, but I kept hearing about the book all the time, yet I had never read it! Everyone offered to lend me a copy, but I love having books on my shelves, so instead I bought my own copy. It was finally time for me to tackle this book that I had somehow missed for so long.

After finishing the book, I can safely say that it is in my top 5. House of Leaves is experimental, complicated, strange, haunting, and harrowing. The book utilizes so many different elements to tell the story: Different fonts, colors, footnotes, images, and even more strange things. Although, that’s only part of what makes the story so gripping when you read it.

House of Leaves is about two stories. One: A boy who finds a chest in his neighbor’s apartment containing an old manuscript, who is reading through said manuscript. Two: The manuscript itself, which is telling the story of a photographer who finds something is very, very wrong with his house.

Reading this, it makes you feel like you are spiraling down into madness along with the characters. Something about this book just feels so personal and real, even though the book clearly states that the story is pure fiction on the inside cover. It’s a haunting story that you just can’t stop reading once you start. You are turning the book all around in your hands, reading things upside down or sentences that spiral off the page. If you are a stickler for the classic writing style, this book will probably leave you irritated right off the bat, but if you can get past that, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the words.

I found myself wanting to measure all the walls in my house when I finished reading it and looking around at all my surroundings to make sure nothing was changed. The paranoia followed me right out of the pages. In that way, how haunting the book is and how the story clings to you, is what made me love it. I love books that can draw me in that deeply and make me look around at things around me in a different light.

If a book has ever moved you like that, I’d love to hear about it! I love books that can impact you so deeply while you read them! Now I’m that indie music loving alternative hipster that tells everyone that they should read House of Leaves when I meet them. It’s funny how the tables have turned. Now it’s off to measure the walls again, to make sure everything is the same as it was yesterday… (just kidding!)

Bio: Hello there! I’m so excited to be guest posting on this book filled blog! I blog over at Bookworms in Dresses, where I review books, talk about life as a post grad, and share some outfit posts from time to time as well! I come from the city of Pittsburgh, where I attended college, and now live with my boyfriend who is the definition of an Indie-Music-Loving-Alternative-Hipster (with a great beard). I’ve been a bookworm since I could read, and I always got in trouble for reading books under my desk at school, as well as under the table at dinner. Getting me to put a book down is a struggle. I hope you enjoyed my review of House of Leaves!

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Thanks Jess! I’ve heard really great things about this book and now I know I definitely need to read it!  Maybe over the summer! Thanks for the post!

The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories by Angela Carter

22 Feb

The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories

author : angela carter

pages : 126

memorable quote:

She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening

summary :

From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

review :

I had to read this collection of fairy tales for an independent study I’m doing. While they weren’t my favorite retellings, I think that these stories are not only well-written but also thought provoking. They’re tales that will leave you to think. You won’t just ponder the connection to and differences from the original story and Carter’s version. You’ll also think through your own interpretation of the endings, as well as the symbolism that crops up in each story.

Though this collection was short, it’s sure to stand out. The stories are bloody. Many of them aren’t happy. But that seems to be a trend, not only in modern retellings but in the original stories themselves! All of us like to hear a good story with a happily ever after but things don’t always work out that way. Carter doesn’t seem foreign to that concept, though she does put her own spin on the idea of a ‘realistic’, unhappy ending. There’s no tragedy simply for the sake of it. It’s impressive, the way she weaves her words together and makes even the smallest of instances in her stories seem to have the biggest share of the impact.

I’d recommend this collection to anyone with an avid interest in fairy tales. While there are other retellings that I’ll pick up to read over and over again, I’m not sure that this collection will be among them even though it is very well-done. I think that it’s worth at least one read and many will like it even more than I did.

3/5 stars

The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tartar

19 Feb

The Classic Fairy Tales

editor : maria tartar

pages : 416

summary :

Gathering together 44 tales from around the world, from the 5th century on, this critical edition examines the genre, its cultural implications and its critical history. She has focused on six different tale types, and includes multicultural variants and literary rescriptings.

review :

Yes, I needed to read this one for school, but it was so interesting that I thought I’d tell you all a little about my thoughts on it. The Classic Fairy Tales is about as bland of a title as you can get when it comes to this collection. Edited and selected by Maria Tartar, most of the book contains fairy tales while about a fourth of it is articles and criticism concerning fairy tales both modern and ancient.

The fairy tales are all separated into different sections in the book so that the reader can compare several versions of one story–for instance, five different ways of telling Little Red Riding Hood–all at once. There may be what is considered the ‘original’ tale, the first written down, and then several others recorded from oral tradition, as well as modern takes on the old story. I liked comparing how the traditional stories we all know and love differ from more violent, older stories. They’re completely different from modern interpretations as well, which tend to be more feminist, less concerned with eradicating eroticism, and sometimes seem to turn the fairy tale completely upside-down for the fun of it.

While the criticism tends to get a little dull–and may begin to blame Disney for overtaking the fairy tale market–the collection does make some interesting points that I think any fan of traditional (or modern!) tales will enjoy. I know that I’m not the only one out there who’s a sucker for any great fairy tale retelling to hit the market these days and this book explains some of the fascination humanity seems to have lingering over the idea of these tales Pick this up and read it for yourself, then discuss with me because I want to hear what you think of the different versions of stories, which may be the true original, and which may be your favorite!

4/5 stars

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

16 Feb

Things We Know by Heart

author : jessi kirby

pages : [hardcover] 304

publication date : april 21, 2015

summary :

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

review :

I’m not sure of how I feel about this book, to be honest. There were some parts of it that I truly loved and wanted more of. I wanted to learn more about Quinn’s relationship with her family, particularly her father and her sister because they seemed like interesting characters who could have been used much more than they were. I wanted more than the focus on her and Colton, mostly because I knew that relationship would eventually blow up because of all of the secrets that Quinn was keeping from Colton.

Of course, some portions of the story were predictable, and I really didn’t mind that. I just wish that some of it could have been handled differently. Not necessarily by changing the plot points or anything serious like that. Really, I just feel like most of it was too rushed, and even though I did get emotional at a few points, if it’d been slowed down I feel like I would have been much more of a mess. Not that I want to be emotionally damaged by a book, you know, but sometimes you can really appreciate something that tangles up your emotions and spits you back out again in the end.

I think that’s another thing that was off for me, too–the ending. I wanted to know what was going to happen next because I feel like some of that could have been more interesting than some of the buildup to that conclusion. I can’t say much without spoiling anything, but I know that there were still problems and issues that could have been explained or fleshed out that weren’t given the chance to come to the heart of the novel . . . see what I did there?

I feel like this book is interesting and it certainly kept me reading, even though it isn’t a favorite. I don’t know if I’ll recommend it to my friends, but I know there are people out there who’ll love it more than I did. Maybe with all of their heart. Last heart joke, I swear.

3/5 stars


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