Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.
A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

I adore books that are set in Europe, whether it be traveling or living; I think that they rock. I waited to read this book (for some strange reason) and it turns out it is phenomenal. SO GOOD. Brilliant, truly brilliant.

The first fifty pages were a bit slow for me, though. However, once she took off with Willem, I couldn't peel my eyes away from the page. There are so many themes and ideas about the identity of teenagers that runs so much deeper than just the simple words on the page. I related with Allyson so well in this. She exposed ideas that made me reconsider the definitions of the things I've been around my whole life. I never knew what to expect from page to page.

Forman immerses you this story. She drags you under and doesn't let you up for air until the last page. She attached me, made me cling to these characters I had just met. Dee, for example! He was such a perfect friend; I found myself smiling with happiness every time he appeared. He helped Allyson along her journey in so many ways. They seemed like such an odd pair at first, but now, I think they will be friends for the long run.

I literally do not have words to say. This book was amazing. Go read it. Come back and comment your thoughts.

Over and out,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

14290364He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?  
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


"Marie Lu's bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion." This sentence is one the back of every final YA book out there, but I rarely ever agree with them. This time, though, I couldn't agree more. Marie Lu is a phenomenal writer. One of my biggest (and probably most pathetic) life achievements is that I have the entire trilogy in hardback and signed *cue choir singing Hallelujah music*. I can't get enough of her writing style.

There are books that make you want to fall into a fit of depression and there are books that make you want to jump and shout, letting the whole world know to read this page-turner. Champion is both. Normally, I look at reviews for books and see if the ending is sad or happy, but I've found that never once looking ahead but reading it like you're standing outside of a bookstore at midnight of the release, reading, is a much, much more satisfying way to conclude a series. This way, I formed my own opinions and appreciated the full impact of her work.

Before Champion, I thought Day was just . . . okay. I loved Metias and June, though, before you go crazy on me. However, I came into Champion with a negative attitude about Day, but I left tearing up and shaking over the ending. Marie Lu did this book the justice it needed, with the ending that was satisfying, an ending that I could handle.

The characters evolved so well. I used to really dislike Tess in the earlier books, but now I love her! The author made me hate the characters that were supposed to be hated (Jameson- ugh), sympathize (Thomas, anyone?), and learn to love characters like Tess. I know that, especially in Prodigy, not so sure now, that many people really didn't like Anden. I personally always really him, and I think that he and June have a very strong friendship. I hope that he finds happiness with someone out there. I also loved how the author didn't just give us every answer to every problem. She left some things open-ended so that we as readers have the freedom to figure them out.

I just love this war-ridden world she's created. It's so believable and realistic. June surprised me with her character around every turn and every corner. I feel like I have more to say about this book, but my thoughts are pretty scrambled right now. All I can process is: gooooood booooook. But seriously, I cannot wait to read what Marie Lu has next for us.

Over and out,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

   Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
   But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

I wasn't originally going to do a review on this book, but I've seen about .02 reviews for this, so I decided to add to the pile. I could see where people would be cautious- when I see the name James Dashner, I associate it with The Maze Runner, not some random gamer book. For me, I never want to really read something by an author who already has a fan base built around another series. It might just be me and my need for little things not to change, but who knows.

I found this book at Target SIGNED, and I jumped on it and practically acted like Gollum with his precious Ring. However, it did sit on my shelf for a few weeks before I read it, mainly because I didn't know what to think of this new series from a legendary YA author. I did like it though. Most of the book was good (nice paced, but eh, I don't know. It just felt a bit off) but as usual, Dashner delivered with the ending. I can't wait for the next book.

One of the things that I loved about this book is that, like the Maze Runner, Dashner creates a world that is suited for boys but is still sprinkled with light romance. I think that this book has even less than the Maze Runner. I liked that, mainly because I feel like sometimes they get a little too balanced, like a book that should be 100% guns, games, and boy stuff instead of 50-50. It feels awkward most of the time, like the author is trying way too hard.

Dashner's writing style makes this book very easy to read too. This is a great book to read in between classes or work, where there isn't too much time to get fully invested but it's a nice break from reality. You can stop and start this book without getting confused or missing key details that were meant to flow together.

Some of the scenes were a bit weird, though. When the main plot line gets introduced to Michael about the Mortality Doctrine, he is SUDDENLY pulled over by four weird men in suits. It wasn't very realistic, to say the least. I suppose that was the point intended, though. Who knows? (James Dashner.)

The world is built wonderfully. This book was a really nice break from all of the fantasy and contemporary I've been reading. I love how everything felt virtual, right down to the freckles on their faces. It just felt like a futuristic movie, through and through. I feel like that is sometimes hard to portray without a visual aspect, but Dashner did it very nicely.

I would just love to see inside of James Dashner's head sometime. The characters and the scenes that he paints are so unique and potent. In The Maze Runner series, Dashner created many weird and creepy enemies, just as he did here. The plot is so intricately woven, with most of the secrets being saved until the last, final breaths of the novel.

Dashner certainly doesn't disappoint in this new sci-fi novel. He's very, very talented, and I will recommend this to all of my friends. I think that everyone should definitely pick up a copy of this, especially if they loved The Maze Runner.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Over and out,