"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe

This review is spoiler free!! 

My rating: 4/5 stars

This was a fun book about time travel. Time travel can get confusing and messy and just plain weird, but I think Megan Crewe handled it well. Her time travel rules made sense (as much as time travel can) and were pretty consistent. This book is lots of fun if you like history (I do!). They travel to several different times in the past.

I really liked the main character, Skylar. She's a bit OCD, but it just made her more real to me. She's not perfect. She's been able to sense the "wrongness" of changes that the aliens have made to our timeline. Win, one of the aliens, wants her help to find a weapon that can destroy the time field so that the aliens can't mess with Earth anymore. And (finally!!), a character in a young adult book reacts appropriately to being stalked by someone (no matter how cute he is!):

"I just want to talk to you. I'm sorry if I scared you earlier." He spreads his arms, I guess to show that his hands are empty. If the gesture was meant to reassure me, it's wasted. 
"You're scaring me now," I say. How did he know I'd be here? He must have been lurking around the school after practice and followed me. What does he want? 
My hand tightens around the phone. If you don't get out of here, I'm dialing 9-1-1. It'll only take a second."
Eventually, Skylar agrees to help Win, but it requires a lot of convincing and proof. 

The bonus about this book is that even though it's the beginning of a series, you could read it as a standalone. There's no crazy cliffhangers and while it's still open for more story (and I'm certainly going to read the next book), this book has a satisfying end.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bottled Up Secret by Brian McNamara

This review is spoiler free!!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This was a sweet little book about first love. Like so many other ya lgbt books, the main conflict in the book is because one of the boys is (mostly) out, while the other is terrified of people finding out. I know that's a pretty common problem for gay teens, but I've read quite a few books like that already this year, so it's getting a bit old for me.

The main character Brendan is pretty lame - he doesn't drink, smoke, barely swears, and he's still a virgin and plans on staying that way. But I have to admit, he reminded me a lot of my high school self. Seriously, my reasoning for not drinking was exactly the same - it kills brain cells and I wanted to be as smart as possible! lol  

The book was written mostly as a rundown/recap of events, without really going into enough on the feeling behind the event. This seems to be a common new author thing. It's not exactly poorly written - it's just not quite well written. 

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

This review contains lots and lots of spoilers!!

This book opens with Cassie, Zombie/Ben and crew taking refuge at an abandoned hotel where they were supposed to meet Evan. Everyone pretty much assumes that Evan is dead, but Cassie won't give up hope. Ben sends Ringer off to look into another spot for them to hole up because winter is coming and they'll need better shelter. 

This book is also told from Ringer's POV (which is awesome because Ringer rocks). Teacup follows Ringer, but Ringer accidentally shoots her. Sad. And then they're discovered by the alien military people. Ringer could leave Teacup alone, but she decides to be caught too so Teacup doesn't have to face it alone. They put Ringer through all sorts of brainwashing, but she still doesn't give in. Eventually they implant her with the "hub," which augments her immune system and makes her even more badass. She develops feelings for the human military guy who's watching her - Razor/Alex. He helps her escape. But then he betrays her! *gasp* He was on Vosch's side the whole time - Vosch wanted to test the hub and her "escape" was the perfect way to do that. But maybe he's not totally on Vosch's side. He's left alone to guard her and tells her to run. She says she won't as long as Vosch has Teacup. When they get back to base, Razor shoots Teacup so she won't have any reason not to run. And she runs. 

Evan obviously is still alive. He runs into Grace, another alien like him. She beats him up pretty bad, but he escapes, although his super immune system has crashed. And meets up with Cassie and crew. But Grace follows. And the aliens find them. Instead of destroying them though, they deliver a little girl to them. Evan says she's been implanted with a bomb that will detonate when it comes into contact with CO2. That's the aliens new plan - send in children bombs that will detonate when they're in close contact with multiple humans. They're able to get the bomb out of the girl, but then Grace shows up. Evan tells them all to leave. They do, but Poundcake, who's been shot, goes back and detonates the bomb. Grace is probably killed, but Evan might be too! Except, at the very end, we're pretty sure that he finds Cassie et al. 

The big bombshell that Ringer finds out is that the aliens aren't actually aliens. They don't have alien consciousnesses downloaded into them. They had something implanted that made them think they did! OMG  But Vosch is something else. Is he an alien?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

First of all, let me apologize for not posting a lot lately. I had this annoying respiratory virus for like two weeks. It was bad enough that I didn't even want to read! *gasp* But I'm feeling relatively healthy now! :)

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

So I pretty much loved the beginning of this book because I just loved Charlie so much. I mean, he's just so perfectly geeky. 

Results from my personal experimentation in this realm would suggest pop culture is stupid. Or it could be that my methodology is flawed. When an experiment's results are unexpected, the scientist must go back and look at the methods to determine the point at which an error occurred. I'm pretty sure I'm the error in each failed attempt at getting a girl's attention. Scientifically, I should have removed myself from the equation, but instead, I kept changing the girl.

I'm a sucker for methodology talk. :) Sure, not very realistic, but I still love it. I started this book for a nice, light, fun, contemporary read. And the first half was. And then it took a serious turn. And it just didn't seem to fit this book. Some books should just stay light. It was hard for me to really feel the emotions that I know I was supposed to feel. I'm not going to go what exactly changed because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone.

Regardless, decent book. Adorable main character. And lots of people might like the second half a lot more than I did. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My True Love Gave to Me

This book is a collection of Christmas love stories by an awesome group of ya writers. Obviously, with any collection, some stories will be better than others, but the majority of these were really enjoyable.

Rainbow Rowell's story was just adorable. Of course. Because everything she writes is adorable. It was about 2 best friends falling in love over the course of several New Year's Eves.

Kelly Link's story was okay, although anything will be just okay coming after Rainbow. It's slightly paranormal and has insta-love.

Matt de la Pena's story was great. Shy is on full scholarship to NYU and not going home to CA for xmas because he can't afford the ticket. He's cat/apartment-sitting for his boss over break during a huge blizzard. He meets a cute rich girl who lives in the same apartment complex. They get to know each other and it's really sweet.

Jenny Han's story is just...weird. Natty (short for Natalie) was adopted by Santa as a baby. Now she's a teenager with a crush on an elf, but elves only date other elves. Natty is whiny and annoying and I finished the story wondering what the point of it was.

Stephanie Perkins' story was very cute. I usually like her books, but at least one character bugs the crap out of me. But I actually liked the characters in this one. Even though it was short, it still felt well-developed.

David Levithan's was sweet, but just so damn short. A boy dresses up as Santa so his new-ish boyfriend's little sister keeps believing. It was like the middle of a story and I wanted to know the beginning and the end too. The little bit we got just wasn't enough.

Holly Black's was okay, but it was a little too strange for me.

I liked Gayle Forman's story - about a Jewish city girl who goes to a college in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest. She feels like an outsider, but then randomly finds a kindred spirit. I didn't like how unrealistic the portrayal of Midwesterners was - a lot of us know about Judaism, we don't usually wear Christmas sweaters (okay, a lot of older people do, but not teenagers!), and I've never heard of putting cheese on pie! There are some Midwesterners who are like that, but not a whole college's worth. But besides that, it was a good read.

I did not like Myra McEntire's story mostly because I really didn't like the main character (a guy who always screws up, bummed because he has to do community service and cancel his trip to Florida because he 'accidentally' set fire to a church's shed). But beyond that, it was also pretty boring.

Kiersten White's story was sweet - about a girl learning to love her life and her town.

Ally Carter's story was good enough. A girl makes a split decision to switch plan tickets with another girl.

Laini Taylor's story was awesome. It was beautifully written and very original.