Sunday, 27 November 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle (Review)

Genre: Contemporary
Number of Pages: 350
For ages 15+ for strong language, drug references, and sexual content

"When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author."-Goodreads

This book had a strong story line that pulled you in on the first page. I have to say that this book is kind of dark in a way. The situations are grueling and extremely painful to read. But I couldn't put the darn book down.

Sixteen year old Cat used to be extremely outgoing, but when her brother's friend, Tommy, takes advantage of her, she crawls into her own little shell and shuts everyone out. Now, Patrick, her old bestfriend has been attacked for a hate crime over his sexuality, she has to come out of her shell to find out who almost killed him. I loved Cat's personality. She was the shy girl who when she put her mind to it, could have one strong personality. She had been put through a whole lot and she was clueless on what she should do. I really had a tough time reading some of her situations, just because she was put through SO much.

It was really refreshing for me to read a contemporary after reading all of these other complex books. And what is even more surprising is how much I liked this book when there was close to NO romance and it was contemporary. But there were some touchy situations in this book that drew me in. Another thing that drew me in was the way this book was written. You could definitely hear Cat's voice and personality throughout the narration of this book.

This is a really hard book to read. Believe me, it is. There are scenarios in this book that are so tough that sometimes I felt like I needed to just put the book down and think. It has an extreme impact on you. If you don't like reading serious story lines, then I don't recommend reading this book.

Another thing, this book is supposed to be toward teen readers, when in actuality, I think it should be for older range of teenagers. There's extremely strong language, some sexual interaction, and drug dealing. Some of these aren't as bad as others. But this is the reason I thought it should be for 15+. I just think it has a lot of issues that some younger teens may not want to read about. I AM fourteen, but I didn't have much difficulty with dealing with the situations.

As I said, there was close to no romance in this book. *SIGH* But it was still a great read. There was little bit of romance at the end that I could see progressing, but it wasn't until probably the second to last page that you actually saw a relationship bloom from that. But oh wells! What can ya do?

The mystery in this book was fantastic! I may have had a hunch on who the attacker was but when it all folded out I was a little surprised. I did see that some people on Goodreads thought it was easily predicted, but I didn't think so. I guess I'm just clueless. ;)

The only problem I had with this book is sometimes the writing got a little weird. It didn't always seem to flow like it should. But, I live with an author and from her I've learned how to find stuff like that in books, so if you can't then it shouldn't be a problem!

I give this book 4 out of 5 diva crowns! This was an emotional book that really brings up some of the problems in our society. It really opens your eyes. I recommend it to anyone who loves a contemporary mystery.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Here by Denise Grover Swank (Review)

Genre: Sci-fi romance
Number of Pages: 350
For ages 12+

"Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before.

Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her and offering to drive her home. She can't ignore that his new obsession started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from." -Goodreads

This is a pretty unique review all in itself. Why, you ask? Because this isn't just some book. This is my mother's book. Yes. That's correct. My mother wrote this book. My mother is Denise Grover Swank, and she is an author. Cool, right?! I thought it would be absolutely terrible to review this book and then not tell you guys the author IS in fact my mother. Because that would mean I was totally jipping you. And I DON'T DO THAT. But, just to let you know right here, right now *intense*, I WILL be reviewing this book truthfully. Just because it's my momma doesn't mean I'm going to review this book any differently from my other reviews. ..Even if I do live with the author, and anything I say or do could affect my living whereabouts.

One cool thing about this book is the main character is named after me. I begged and BEGGED my mom to use Julia as her main character's name because I hadn't read about any main characters with the name Julia in YA. She agreed but told me she would change it if it got too weird. Thank goodness it didn't! But let's just get one thing straight here. Julia Phillips and me are nothing alike. Aside from the sarcasm, we both like to use that often. Julia is a strong character who is dealing with the grief of killing her friend Monica. At least she THINKS she killed Monica. Then, Evan comes along *swoooooonnnn* and gets Julia to come out of her shell. I loved Julia. She had a really strong personality and all of her decisions affected how you felt.

So the romance in this book, was AWESOME. Of course there had to be. If my mom didn't put awesome romance in this book she wouldn't have heard the end of it. In this book there's a love triangle. Two guys fighting over the love and affection of Julia. Reece and Evan. Of course, at some points I did pretend they were talking about this Julia and not that Julia, but a girl can dream! You're probably wondering which guy I liked better. See, that's the problem. HOW CAN I CHOOSE BETWEEN SUCH AWESOME GUYS?! Some of my friends beta read this and we all had some strong debates on team Reece or team Evan. Most said Reece, but I was a little iffy. BUT if I had to choose I would choose Reece for Julia Phillips and Evan for me. But, Evan will have to wait a few more years until I turn sixteen for it to be acceptable. Don't worry,though. Evan will still be seventeen when I turn sixteen. Also, Evan and Reece, both going on the Swoon Worthy List, just sayin'.

Some of you may be cringing at the thought of a sci-fi book. But trust me. You can't even tell it's sci-fi. I HATE science. It's my worst subject (next to math) and it bores the heck out of me, but this book doesn't even seem like it's sci-fi. Don't you worry your pretty little book lovin' heads. Now, if you DO like sci-fi, then you will adore this book even more.

There were extremely intense scenes in this book, and all of them had me biting my fingernails to nubs. Even if I have read a version of this book at least three or four times. I sometimes have no idea how my mother comes up with stuff like this, but she does. Also, when the "science-y" aspects of the book come out. She explains it to you so you can easily understand. And if I can understand it, I'm sure you'll easily understand it.

I give this book 5 out of 5 diva crowns. Now, before you start saying I'm doing this because the author is my mother, (Even though I'm sure none of you were actually going to say that.) I'm rating this 5 out of 5 diva crowns BECAUSE if there were any mistakes or something I didn't like while I was reading it any of the three or four times I read it, I would have told my mom. So therefore, I have nothing to critique!

I absolutely recommend you buy this book. ....And not just because if you buy it I may have a better chance of getting a Kindle fire or Nook tablet for Christmas... but because it's AWESOME!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle (Review)

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Number of Pages: 252
For ages 13+

"It’s hard enough being a teenager under normal circumstances; imagine being orphaned, sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt—and learning that there really is magic in the world. Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.

Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad.

As Eren and Aiden’s relationship blooms, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many enemies. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents-and Aidens-was no accident and that her life might be in danger, too. Only time will tell if Eren has the power to protect the people she has come to love." -Goodreads

Hello everyone! My apologies for being a total slacker and not reviewing for the past three weeks. I'm ashamed. I am. Now, WHO WANTS TO READ A REVIEW?!?! ...I feel like I'm on a talk show. ;)

This book was absolutely positively divine! Oh my goodness. My mom introduced me to this book because I was needing a book to read. So, obviously I was going to read it. My mother's recommendations are never wrong. After all she knows my book tastes. I've lived with her for 14 years.

Eren just wants to be a normal teenage girl. But when her parents get attacked by a wild animal and she has to come live with her aunt, everything changes. I connected with Eren right on the spot. Heather did a fantastic job with having the reader connect with the characters. She gave them qualities that people could easily like, but she didn't make the characters too perfect. Nothing irks me more (Yes, irks) than a perfect character with no flaws. That's just not realistic. Now, I know that MANY things in paranormal or fantasy aren't going to be realistic, but it would be nice if the character's personality was at least somewhat normal...ish.

Some people may not agree with me on this, but I liked the fact that Eren and Aiden's relationship progressed quickly. I'm the type of person who says, "JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY!" Because it's true. I like the idea of "no dilly dallying." I loved the romance in this book it was refreshing and in some cases.. cheesy. And I love me some cheesy romance! The good thing is, is that if you don't like cheesy romance, it wasn't extremely cheesy that you were thinking, "Oh goodness, when did this turn into a Hallmark movie?" Trust me. Hallmark movies aren't for me. This was nothing like one. Also, Aiden? Swoon worthy. EXTREMELY Swoon Worthy. He's goin' on the list.

The suspense in this book was also fantastic. Heather always had something that you were on the edge of your seat about. I can't tell you how many times I was almost verbally screaming, "OH MY GOSH!!!!" It's a good thing I can control myself, because I usually read this during the twenty minute homework time we get in the morning, and everything is silent. (I'm always reading during this time, because I think it's ridiculous how some kids don't do their homework the NIGHT they are supposed to do it.)

There was nothing in this book I didn't like. I absolutely loved it. Which means my mother's recommendation was correct, once again. She'll be quite pleased to hear this. I highly recommend you buy this book. Especially if you love romance/suspense/fantasy. It was FANTABULOUS. Five diva crowns.