Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Title: Starters
Series: Starters, Book #1
Author: Lissa Price
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, March 13, 2012
Hardcover, 352 pages

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .
(From Goodreads)

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything (sorry about that!), but I wanted this book to be my next review, and after I finished I couldn’t put my thoughts into words. But now I’m going to try: This book was absolutely amazing.

Not often do I not get distracted from a book. This book kept me on my toes, and made me want to keep reading and keep reading until there wasn’t anything left to read. It ended with a HUGE twist (like, seriously, WHOA.), and left lots of things open for a sequel, which by the way I can’t WAIT for! It did leave me questioning a few things that I do wish would’ve been explored a little bit more, though.

My biggest and pretty much only problem with Starters was that the Spore Wars were never explained. It never told what caused them. It never told exactly what the spores did to you body. And it left me really interested. I wish there would’ve been even a paragraph or two more just to explain all of this, because I’d really like to know. I also wondered how people were able to stay alive so long (There are 200 year olds!). I wish a little bit of the science behind it all could’ve been explained more.

One thing that I either wish there was more of, or just not there at all were the Cinderella references. I actually don’t even know if they were intentional, but I definitely picked up on them throughout. I haven’t seen mention of this in any other reviews though, so maybe I overanalyzed.

I honestly loved every single character in this book. Even the bad guy, “The Old Man.”(Whose identity, by the way, I have a theory about! I’ll have to wait and find out in the next book if I’m correct, but I have interesting thoughts.) I thought all of the characters were fleshed out extremely well, and I couldn’t help but be invested in all of them.

I’d definitely recommend this book. It might be my favorite book that I’ve reviewed YET!

Review: Surrender by Elana Johnson

Title: Surrender
Series: Possession, Book #2
Author: Elana Johnson
Published by Simon Pulse, June 5, 2012
Hardcover, 469 pages

So instead of telling you the plot of the book like I normally would, I’m just going to post the Goodreads description, because it’s better than anything I could come up with.

Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

Okay, so that’s a little bit misleading, because Raine is really more of a rebel than Gunn is. But whatever. The description also doesn’t really tell about Gunn’s part in the story, which I think it should include since he is one of the narrators.

I enjoyed Surrender SO much more than Possession. Most of the problems that I had with Possession were not present in Surrender. I felt more connected with the story and the characters in this book than I did with the first. I also liked that Johnson changed it up a little and gave us new lead characters. Because of that, though, this is more of a companion than a sequel, even though it does follow up on Vi, Jag, and Zenn, and they play a major part in what happens, especially towards the end.

I LOVED Raine and Gunn. I loved that instead of just one side of the story, we got to see two different perspectives of what was happening. Usually books with two different narrators annoy me, but that didn’t happen in Surrender. I think it worked well for the story.

There’s not as much of a love triangle in Surrender as there was in Possession, which I was thankful for. I wanted to like Jag, Vi, and Zenn in Possession, but never warmed up to them. In this book, I ended up liking all three of them. I think Johnson definitely worked to make them more relatable, and it helped a lot. My complaint about Thane Myers not being evil enough in Possession was fixed here with his even-more-evil boss, Director Hightower. In general I don’t have any really big complaints about Surrender like I did with Possession. I do wish that the world building would’ve been a bit stronger, but it was already stronger than in Possession, so maybe it’ll get even better in the next book (is there a next book? I hope so!).

Surrender is loads better than Possession, so if you read Possession and liked it, or even if you just sort-of-kind-of liked it, then I definitely recommend reading this one!

Surrender is in stores today!

Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

Title: Possession
Series: Possession, Book #1
Author: Elana Johnson
Originally published by Simon Pulse, June 7, 2011, Paperback May 8, 2012
Paperback, 432 pages

For the first 100-or-so pages of Possession, I didn’t think I was going to like it. I couldn’t get into the writing style that Johnson used at all. The story was just kind of blah. I kept getting confused with their tech-talk. But then about halfway through I started really getting into it and I read the second half in one sitting.

Possession is set in the future where there are “Goodies” who are basically mind-controlled by the Thinkers and “Baddies” who are criminals (except not really, they just don’t follow the ridiculous rules set by the Thinkers, and therefore get banished). The main character, Vi, is in love/matched with Zenn. She get’s caught walking with him one night in the park, and is sent to prison. There, she meets Jag, a Baddie. And she falls in love with him. YAY LOVE TRIANGLES. Vi finds out from Jag that she may be more special than she ever could’ve guessed. I won’t say anything else about the story, because I’m afraid I’d spoil it!

If you’re not a love triangle fan, this definitely is NOT the book for you. That’s one of the major parts of the story, and where most of Vi’s conflicting emotions come from. The other main conflict of the book is with Thane Meyers, who wants Vi to come work with him as a Thinker. I really felt like he could’ve been a much stronger villain than he was. He was almost there, but I felt like he needed a little something more to push him over the edge and make him even more ominous. He could’ve been just as evil as President Snow in The Hunger Games, but Johnson didn’t take him that far, and a part of me really wishes she would’ve.

I had problems throughout with liking the characters. Vi was okay when she wasn’t trying to be snarky. I never really cared for either of her love interests, though, which was disappointing because I WANTED to like Jag, but it just didn’t happen. I also think at the beginning of the book, the reader shouldn’t have been just automatically thrown into the action. There should’ve been a bit of relationship establishment between Vi and Zenn, and even Vi and her mom. I just felt like I never really got to know Zenn and so I never thought they’d end up together. It also would’ve been nice to have a little bit of background on the technology and how it works. I never fully understood that. Just one or two chapters at the beginning could’ve easily solved both of those problems, but it didn’t happen.

Overall, I liked this book. I didn’t LOVE it as much as I wanted to, but it was still a nice read. The sequel, Surrender, is released on Tuesday! I went to Barnes & Noble today and they had it out already, so I’m going to start it later tonight! Hopefully it’ll be at least as good, if not better, as Possession!

Review: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

 Title: The Snow Child
Author: Eowyn Ivey
Published by Little, Brown and Company, Feb 1, 2012
Hardcover, 389 pages

Starting this review, I’m honestly having trouble putting my thoughts into words. There’s nothing I can say about The Snow Child that even begins to describe how I felt while reading it. It was truly a stunning book.

The Snow Child is about a couple, Mabel and Jack, who married late and unsuccessfully tried to have a child. A few years down the road in 1920, they decide to move to Alaska to build a homestead, to escape their family, which to them is only a reminder of the fact that they couldn’t have children while everyone else could. After they move to Alaska, they start to grow apart, but with the first snow of the season, their love rekindles. They build a little girl out of snow. When they wake up the next morning, their creation is gone, with child-sized footsteps leading away from it and the mittens and scarf that were on the snow child gone. They start to see a little girl running through the woods every now and then. The girl, named Faina, eventually becomes like a daughter to the couple. But is Faina a real person or a magical being?

Loosely based on the Russian fairy tale “Snegurachka” (The Snow Maiden), The Snow Child is absolutely breathtaking. It was one of those books that I just didn’t want to end. Ivey’s descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness, though sometimes brutal, left me chilled throughout the novel. The story is very heartwarming, though, which is quite the opposite of the setting.

I know this is a super short review, but there really isn’t much for me to say about this novel without spoiling the entire thing. So just read it! It’s definitely worth your time!

Judging a Book by its Cover #1

I’m out of town this weekend for a little mini-vacation with my parents. I thought this would be a good time to introduce a new feature I’m planning on doing a couple times a month from now on! Not to say this hasn’t been done by someone else before, but I thought it was appropriate for me.

I’m a graphic design major in college, and so the covers of books are part of what pulls me in. I know that “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but if a book has an absolutely awful cover, there’s probably no chance of me reading it! I like for books (and all things, really) to be visually pleasing. Its part of what makes me pick up something before I buy it, whether it’s a book, a CD, a movie, or even a package of crackers! Good design can make or break a product.

In this new feature, I’m planning on posting covers of several books that intrigue me based on their covers only (no descriptions!). I’ll explain what I like about them, and what makes them have such a great design.

So without further ado, here is the first installment of “Judging a Book by its Cover.” All of these books were on my Good Reads recommended books list.

 White Cat by Holly Black
I see this book every time I’m in Barnes & Noble and I LOVE the paperback cover. (Not so much on the hardback.) I’ve thought about buying it before, I just never have because I’m not sure what it’s about, but the cover is absolutely stunning in person. The dots, the colors, the fonts… Everything just works together SO well and it’s really, really beautiful.

No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
What’s NOT to love about this cover? I really love the colors that they chose, and the trees are perfection. I love how the text disappears behind them. That gives a three dimensional appearance on an otherwise flat cover. My one nitpick is that I would’ve used the same font on the “N” in “No” as the rest of the cover, because it really sticks out, and not in a good way.

Two more after the “read more!”

Read the full post »

Feature & Follow #2

 

Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and  Allison Can Read.  It’s a great way to find other blogs to follow and help them to find you! Click the picture above for more information!

You can follow me any of the ways featured on the sidebar! Thanks for checking out my blog!

QOTW: Activity! Dream cast your current read.

My current read is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I’m usually more of a YA reader, but this Adult book sounded very interesting. Anyway, I started it last night and it’s very good so far. It’s about a couple, Mabel and Jack, who in 1920 move to Alaska to build a homestead. They were unable to have children, and are now too old to try again. During the first snow of the season, they build a snow girl. The next morning when they wake up, their creation is gone, but they catch glimpses of a child in the forest. Could their snow child have come to life?

I have had trouble picturing the characters, though, because I’ve never been great with casting older characters in my mind. I’ve kind of got a bit of an idea, though.

  

I’m only going to cast the female characters because while I kind of have pictures for the men, no actor that I can think of would fit how I picture them. For Mabel, I can’t help but picture Sissy Spacek. There’s never really a given description of what she looks like, and Sissy Spacek is just who I first thought of, even though she may be a little old for the role. For Esther, one of the few other women in the Alaskan wilderness, and Mabel’s only friend besides her husband, I picked Meryl Streep. She’s just the right amount of crazy to play this part. And for Faina, the snow child, I picture a very young Elle Fanning. She’d definitely be too old to play Faina now, but when she was younger she would’ve been perfect!

What are you currently reading? 

Recently Bought & To-Read

No review today, but I did want to give you a little preview of  what’s coming up, and my thoughts about them!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
I bought this today! I saw is a while back at Barnes & Noble and absolutely loved the cover. After I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgentern, this was recommended as similar, so I’m super excited to read it!

Posession by Elana Johnson
Also bought this today! I’ve been hearing good things about this book since it was released, so I finally decided to give it a shot! Plus, the sequel, Surrender, comes out soon and I want to be prepared for that!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
I’ve had this one laying around for a while. I actually started it last night, but I wasn’t getting into it all that much. I may put it down for now, but I’ll probably come back to it at some point!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I bought this the day it came out in January 2011. I was SO excited to read it. One of my friends asked to borrow it before I even started it, and she JUST gave it back to me this week, so I’ve definitely got to get going on this one, because I was excited to read it even when I first bought it!

The Great Gatsby Trailer!

I know I’ve already posted today, but I have to post again just to have this slice of awesome on my blog.

The Great Gatsby is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I will admit that I hated it when it was required reading in high school, but I reread it last year, and it’s just stunning. As is this trailer. I was SO excited when I heard that they were making this movie. Leo is gonna be wonderful, as is Carey Mulligan. I can just feel it. I love the Robert Redford version from the 60s, but this one looks like it could be even better! I love this trailer SO much (even though.. is that Kanye I hear? Why?! Where’s the jazz?!), and definitely can’t wait for this movie!

Review: Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Title: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
Author: Serena Valentino
Published by Disney Press, Aug 18, 2009
Hardcover, 250 pages

I was really looking forward to reading this book, because Snow White is my absolute favorite fairy tale. I love reading / watching anything and everything about Snow White, including the Disney version, which is one of my favorite movies ever.

I was, however, a little bit disappointed with this book. It was featured on a Fairy Tale Retellings shelf at Barnes & Noble in the Young Adult section (where I also picked up Cinder). However, this book is most certainly not the YA I was expecting.

I knew before I bought it that it was published by Disney, since the cover art featured Disney’s Evil Queen. What I didn’t know was just how closely it would stick with the characters that had already been established in the movie.
Read the full post »

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine, Book #1
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books, June 7, 2011
Hardcover, 352 pages

I’ve been planning on reading this book for a long time. I saw it in stores last summer, but I wasn’t sure that I would like it. I flipped through and looked at the pictures, which are real pictures that Ransom Riggs gathered and put in, and they just looked a little bit too creepy for me to enjoy it.

When I started reading Miss Peregrine, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I thought that it would take place in the past and be about all of these strange kids that were in the pictures. I was partly right, but Miss Peregrine ended up being a lot different than I was expecting.
Read the full post »