Friday, May 31, 2013

"The Elite" by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthmarked {by Caragh M. O'Brien}

Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Series: Birthmarked #1
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve. Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish

This was an interesting book. Gaia, sixteen and with one side of her face burned, is in training to be a midwife like her mother. The first three babies born from each midwife are "advanced" inside the wall, to the Enclave, where they become the children of the elite society. The people outside the wall live in poverty. But everything is not as it seems with the Enclave. When Gaia's parents are arrested for seemingly no reason, Gaia bravely sneaks inside the wall to find out what is real and what is not with the Enclave.

Gaia was a likeable character for me. She wasn't like other heroines in dystopian novels. I've read a lot of dystopian, being so popular right now, and I don't often like the girls. But Gaia was realistic. She was scared, she just wanted her parents back, she followed her heart, albeit impulsively. She saw something wrong and wanted to fix it. 

Another thing I liked was the fact that there wasn't an actual romance until the second book. Now, the rest of you may be asking "what is wrong with you? That's what makes a book worth reading!" But often in dystopian novels, I find that the heroine isn't trying to change society because it's wrong. She is trying to change it because she realizes it's wrong because society won't let her be with the one she "loves". (Matched, and Delirium are examples. No offense to the books, I liked them enough.) But Gaia is trying to change the Enclave because she legitimately finds it wrong. True, I suppose she didn't think so until her parents were arrested, but she was having thoughts before then. 

I also find, in some instances, that a romance takes away from the point. A dystopian novel should be more than a love story. Ever read a book, and the main characters are running from something or someone and then they decide that this is the perfect time to confess their love and make out and you're just screaming at them because they're like, 3 second away from dying or being captured? (And then that something happens and you're just like I told you so) There was a scene like that in this book. I was convinced that at any moment they were going to do the same thing, and everything would be for naught because they would just be caught and did. But it didn't happen. They kept running because they kept their priorities straight. And as strange as I may be, that made me happy. 

I think all that was just to say that these characters had common sense. Which is something I find lacking in characters nowadays. I enjoyed the series a lot more than I thought I would. I read all three within a few days, and would definitely recommend it. I only read the three books, and not the in-between novellas.

Caragh M O'Brien:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Friday, May 24, 2013

The "Maximum Ride" Series by James Patterson

I've decided that I'm going to review an entire series instead of just one book in it. This is probably one of my all-time favorite series, though the end… Well, I'll get to that.

Series: The Maximum Ride Series
Author: James Patterson
Overall Series Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spark {by Brigid Kemmerer}

Title: Spark
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental, book 2
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own...

I didn't think it was possible for this series to get any better.

Brigid Kemmerer proved me wrong. (Don't you just love it when author's do that?)

I know there might have been some issues with Gabriel in the first book, but believe me, he completely redeems himself. 

Gabe controls the element fire. Or rather, he is unable to control it as of now. It tends to go out of control, matching his hotheaded tendencies. He tends to push people away, as well as act completely rude and inconsiderate. But we find out that's just an outside covering protecting himself. Gabe has been hurt a lot in his young life. Not to mention his twin brother Nick seems practically perfect, which makes Gabriel all that much harder on himself. 

Then he meets Layne in his math class, who figures out he's been cheating by trading places with Nick. She offers to tutor him, and I'm sure you know where it goes from that. 

Not to mention, someone has been starting fires all over town. The prime suspect? Gabriel of course. It doesn't help that he's been shutting himself off from his brothers, although he does start hanging out with Hunter more. 

One thing I loved about this book was that Layne doesn't know about Gabe's powers throughout. Which means she likes him for him. Her finding out about the Elementals doesn't take forefront in the story, which was nice. 

Because of that, the story mainly relied on the relationship between the brothers to carry it through, which was refreshing. Being so different, they each had a different dynamic which showed through in their relationships with each other. It was nice to see a healthy (okay, maybe not so much but still) brotherly relationship. 

Also enjoyable was the budding bromance between Hunter and Gabriel. Because he's cut himself off from his brothers, Gabe really has no one else to turn to. This interested me because Hunter has always been a little more mysterious and harder to figure out than the others, so it was interesting to see him from this point of view. 

And one of the best parts would have to be Gabriel's relationship with Layne's brother, Simon. Simon is deaf, and until this year, had been in a special school. He was not doing well with the transition to a public high school, and being made fun of and beat up did not help one bit. So it was nice when Gabe took him under his wing, protected him, and hung out with him. It shows a sweet side to the many layers that make up Gabriel.

I know Michael is my favorite, but Gabriel is really giving him some competition with this book. Ah, I can't decide. Hot guys. That's all you need to know ;)

The books:

The novellas:

Brigid Kemmerer:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Monday, May 13, 2013

Storm {by Brigid Kemmerer}

Title: Storm
Author: Brigid Kemmerer 
Series: Elemental, book 1 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca. Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

I loved this book. It's been a while since I've read a YA book that I've loved so much, but this one was it. I loved the characters, their relationships, the story line, the way it was played out. Of course, it wasn't perfect, but it was pretty darn close.

It starts out when Becca rescues Chris from getting beat up. She is then thrown into their world, which she never knew existed. Then this Hunter kid shows up, and Becca thinks she's falling for him. But nothing is as it seems. Like always.

I loved the dynamic of the relationships between the brothers. They each have a different personality, and that affects the way they interact with each other, and Kemmerer did a good job of showcasing that. Michael is the oldest, and for whatever reason, my favorite, and although he comes across as a jerk, he has also had to raise his brothers for the last few years. Gabriel and Nick are the twins. Gabriel can come off as a sexist douchebag a times, but he also redeems himself. Nick is the quieter one. Chris is the baby, and the one who's personality we get to see the most.

 I also liked the story line and the way it drew you in. It wasn't overwritten, or drawn out. It was also different enough from any other YA book that it kept me hooked. So many times, I see the same plot lines overworked, and this wasn't like that. It was refreshingly different.

Becca wasn't your usual damsel in distress main female character. After all, the book opens with her saving a guy. She was spunky and courageous, and didn't wait around for the guys to get things done. She got them done herself.

And hot guys. Five of them. Come on.

The books:

The novellas:

Brigid Kemmerer:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Another Faust" by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Title: Another Faust
Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Series: The Marlowe School #1
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 6, 2013

Halo {by Alexandra Adornetto}

Title: Halo
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Series: Halo #1
Rating: DNF

Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her? 

Ugh. This book. This book. I'm not sure I can even express how much I disliked this book, but I'll try without coming across as hateful. Because I don't hate the book, or the author. Not really.

I will give props to the author because she was only 18 when this was published. However, there's a reason (with a few exceptions) teenagers don't get published.

The premise of the book sounded like it would be a good read. I liked the fact the girl was the angel this time, and not the damsel in distress. The cover is really pretty, which is why I picked the book up.

Bad decision.

Overall, the book was very childish. The main character, Bethany, was naive and just plain dumb. She's an angel sent down from heaven with her siblings, Gabriel and Ivy to a town to fight evil. Except, they don't ever do anything. Bethany goes to high school and falls in love with Xavier. Ivy knits. A lot of evil-fighting going on here, I see. The entire book is just about Bethany and Xavier's love. 

As a nerd, I can understand the stereotyping of the preps. However, this book took it way out of proportion. I have never met girls that dumb, and I've met a lot of dumb girls in my short life. As a female, I cannot fathom why the author would present her characters in such a sexist way. They were beyond shallow and ignorant, and it hurt my brain just to read about them. Bethany herself was whiny, naive, and immature. And she's supposed to be a freaking angel????

Then there's Xavier. Really, he's the damsel in distress here. Adornetto gave him some "baggage", but it was briefly mentioned, then forgotten, then brought back up every now and then so as to make him seem not perfect. Not that he was perfect to begin with.

Oh. Evil. Right. About halfway through the book, Adornetto remembers that her angels are supposed to be doing stuff, and brings in the "evil" character, Jake. Except, he's just your average teenage boy. Now, I know I didn't finish the book, so I don't know what he does to be so "evil" but really. You could definitely tell he was an afterthought.

The book was also very preachy. The author definitely had some religious bias, and made sure that everything Bethany said came across as such. I mean, I'm religious too, but this was crazy over-the-top.

Nothing about this book made sense. Nor can I figure out why someone actually published it. Oh, and get this... it's a trilogy. As in, she was published again. And again. 


Friday, May 3, 2013

"Legacy" and "Spellbound" by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié

Title: Legacy & Spellbound
Authors: Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié
Series: Wicked, #3 & 4
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reading Questionnaire

Hi guys! The NerdHerd here. We recently saw this questionnaire on Kelli's blog, and thought it would be fun to answer it ourselves. Just for a little something extra in the week :)

Do you snack while you read?
Rachel: No, I do not. I don't know why, but I don't like to. It interrupts my flow of reading, I guess. Although, I will read while eating a meal sometimes.
Dallas: Only if I'm hungry. Like, really hungry. Usually, I'm too engrossed to realize I'm hungry. I've actually lost weight reading before.

What is your favorite drink while reading?
Rachel: I don't usually drink anything while reading. But if I do, it's either coffee or hot tea. Something cozy.
Dallas: Dr. Pepper. Always.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Rachel: It kind of horrifies me. Although, I don't usually ever buy books myself, I always borrow, so that would also be why I don't ever mark as I read.
Dallas: It absolutely horrifies me. Even to mark my own. I can't stand other people marking in their own books. There's just something about it that I don't like. It's hard to explain.

How do you keep your place while reading a book?
Rachel: Whatever piece of paper I find. I try to pick something and keep it as a bookmark, but I always end up losing it. Although I have managed to hang on to my piece of sparkly peacock feather paper for a while now.
Dallas: I either scrap together a bookmark, or memorize the page number. That, or I finish the book in one sitting, making the point moot.

Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
Rachel: I prefer to read to the end of a chapter because it's just easier to pick up again. However, I can stop anywhere if needed.
Dallas: I like reading to the end of the chapter, but I always definitely try to stop at the end of a paragraph. I cannot stop in the middle. Bugs me to no end.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you?
Rachel: There have been a handful of occasions where I have wanted to. But no, I never have (yet).
Dallas: I guess I'd have to say yes, because there have been two books in my life that I have done that to. Sadly. Usually, I feel like I'd be throwing an actual living being, so I try not to.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away?
Rachel: No. I always use context clues and figure it out. Which is why there are so many words that I can use in a sentence perfectly, yet I don't know the meaning of.
Dallas: Only if I can't figure out how to pronounce it, or if context clues aren't helpful.

What are you currently reading?
Rachel: I've been carrying around Reached by Allie Condie (Matched trilogy, book 3) but haven't really gotten around to actually opening it yet. I also have Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson that I'm reading as something light and funny.
Dallas: I've got Storm, the first in the Elemental series by Brigid Kremmerer in my bag, and The Sun Mage, book two of the Blacklight Chronicles by John Forrester on my Kindle.

What is the last book you bought?
Rachel: Uhhh…it was a book in the Bailey Flanigan series by Karen Kingsbury, but I don't remember which. I think it was Learning (book 2). It was like, at Christmas.
Dallas: Um, probably Behemoth, the second in the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. (Amazing books, by the way.)

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
Rachel: The where is definitely on my bed, all snuggled up under the covers. As for when, anytime is a good time to read as far as I'm concerned.
Dallas: Not really. In school, at home, at Starbucks - anywhere but travelling in a car.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
Rachel: It doesn't matter, because it depends on the quality of a book. I've read singles that I wish were expanded into series because I love it so much, and series that were mediocre but I read anyway just to know what happens. It all depends on how well it is written.
Dallas: I think I prefer series, simply because that means there's more, and more is better. But there have been some series that, after the first book, the rest were completely unnecessary. However, there'have been some stand-alones that would've been great as a series.

Is there a specific book you find yourself recommending over and over?
Rachel: The Princess Bride is one of my all-time favorites. I just love Goulding's humor. And the way he completely just made up a story about the story. Also, a book I'm in love with right now is The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Like, seriously. So amazing. Go read it.
Dallas: Not just one book, but the trilogy Leviathan. The third book is not out yet, but based on the first two, I can't wait. They were expertly written, and I just can't give them high enough praise. Also, anything by Rick Riordan. That man is a genius.

How do you organize your books?
Rachel: …in a row. I was about to say I don't really have a lot of books, but I remembered that the few I have are organized by size. And obviously, series are together (or is that unobvious?)
Dallas: By series, then author. Sometimes even paperbacks and hardbacks, depending on how many stand-alones I'm organizing. Right now, the ones on my shelves are by series and author, plus whatever fits on the shelves, and I've got two stacks of books that I don't believe have any right to go on my shelves. Not that they were bad, per se, but they definitely lacked something. Or they just didn't fit.

Well, that was fun! Feel free to answer this questionnaire on your own blog! Leave the link in the comments, so we can visit you and read your answers as well :)