Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Foreman

Summary: It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Kim's Review: Oh sweet Jesus, this book was perfect. It's been two years since I read If I Stay, so I had a hard time remembering most of it, but I still remembered how I felt while I was reading it, and I think this sequel is even better. While the first book is more full of drama and action, this sequel seems to focus more on the fallout. I really loved how the author jumped three years ahead for the second book instead of focusing on the typical drama that would follow after the ending of the first book, which would have felt boring and mundane. It's honestly just hard to explain why I loved this book so much more. It wasn't a sappy romance; it was realistic and honest, yet still had plenty of emotion. While I kind of doubt there would be a third book to this, I would LOVE to read one.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Review: Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Summary: Bobby Phillips is an average fifteen-year-old boy. Until the morning he wakes up and can't see himself in the mirror. Not blind, not dreaming. Bobby is just plain invisible...

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to Bobby's new condition; even his dad the physicist can't figure it out. For Bobby that means no school, no friends, no life. He's a missing person. Then he meets Alicia. She's blind, and Bobby can't resist talking to her, trusting her. But people are starting to wonder where Bobby is. Bobby knows that his invisibility could have dangerous consequences for his family and that time is running out. He has to find out how to be seen again before it's too late.

Kim's Review: I wasn't sure about this book at first, but I grew to like it as I kept reading. The premise of someone just waking up invisible one day is really fascinating, and I like how Clements followed through with it. He didn't come up with some wacky explanation for it - it was scientific and fairly plausible. I enjoyed Bobby's relationship with Alicia, as well as the subplots with possible government interference.

While this book didn't have that "WOW" factor to earn five stars from me, it was still a good, fun read. Going into it I was afraid that the plot, explanations, etc. would be too far-fetched, but I was proved wrong.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Published: June 18th, 2013
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 448

Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.


Tarnish was simply amazing. The best historical fiction novels are the ones that trick you into wondering, maybe that person won't die a horrible death after all! Tarnish was about Anne Boleyn's life pre-Henry VIII, which was a refreshing and welcome way of telling her story. 

The idea of power in this book was intriguing. I loved how Anne didn't actively seek power, as one might expect going in blind. Anne's pure motivation is to be known. To be remembered for being who she was. For her words. As a woman, and an untitled one, her job is cut out for her. Tarnish examined Anne's struggles and how women were treated during this time period. It did it in such an honest manner, I just want to shove this book at my friends and scream 'READ IT!'

Even though the book takes on some heavy topics, it still had a blossoming love story. The love story was not the main plot, which I preferred rather than having it overshadow everything else. I can't say that I've ever read another book with Anne and Thomas Wyatt being the focus, rather than Anne and Henry VIII. Thomas was such a charming and slimy fellow, and he helped Anne discover who she was. Their love story obviously does not end well, but Tarnish will immortalize their (however fictional) love.

All in all, this book was amazing. Katherine Longshore is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I can't wait until she writes more!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kim's 2013 Christmas Wishlist!

So many awesome books have been released lately, I wish I could buy them all! However, I should probably narrow it down...so these are the top five books I hope to see under the Christmas tree this year!

 1. Rumors (Luxe #2) by Anna Godbersen 
After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry Schoon-maker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind--including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to "The Luxe," nothing is more dangerous than a scandal . . . or more precious than a secret.

2. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.

4. The Chaos (Numbers #2) by Rachel Ward
Adam sees “numbers” – when he looks in peoples’ eyes he can see their death-dates, just like his mum Jem used to. Adam has trouble dealing with his awful gift, and when he realises that everyone around him has the same series of numbers, he becomes deeply afraid of what might happen in 2025.

Desperate to find out what could be about to go wrong, Adam spends hours researching possibilities – war, nuclear accidents, killer viruses. He knows something big is coming, but what? And is there anything he can possibly do about it?

5. Every Day by David Levithan
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Happy Holidays!!! What books are on your wishlist?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

**Spoilers for Burned below!**

Summary: Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

Kim's Review: I love Ellen Hopkins' books so much. I've read all of her YA novels and have yet to be disappointed. Smoke is the sequel to Burned, and it's been at least a year since I read the first book, so I was worried I would be lost. However, Hopkins does a great job at explaining what happened, so going back and skimming through the first book was unnecessary. I really loved the plot and reading about the aftermath of the incident between Pattyn and her father. The author also kept the story entertaining and intriguing, especially considering that this sequel was never planned.

The characterization and emotions in this book are amazing; I felt so bad for Pattyn and Jackie. I also thought Hopkins did a great job at depicting how the incident affected the two girls mentally, giving both of them PTSD. I can't imagine having to relive that moment and have it running through your mind every day.

Again, this book was a fantastic sequel. I will never, ever stop endlessly recommending all of Hopkins' novels to every reader I come across. Her characters and stories are heart-wrenching, but absolutely amazing to read.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Numbers by Rachel Ward

Summary: Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

Kim's Review: This book was NOT what I expected it to be. There was a lot more action and suspense than I anticipated (given I didn't read the summary before starting), but I really enjoyed it. The idea of someone being able to see a person's death date just by looking them in the eye is definitely intriguing, and I think the author took it in the right direction. It took a while to get used to all of the British slang, but overall I couldn't find any flaws in the writing.

I was teetering between a three and four star rating throughout most of this book, but that last chapter made it earn the fourth star. Talk about a creepy ending! I hope I get to pick up the sequel sometime soon because I think there's a lot to be explored. Consider my expectations raised!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In My Mailbox (December 1st, 2013)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by the Story Siren! It's an opportunity to showcase what books you have purchased, borrowed from the library, etc throughout the week.

I admit that I didn't get any books for myself this week. I took advantage of Black Friday sales to get some books for my sister. And since she doesn't know the URL to this blog, I can show you the ones I got for her for Christmas! 


Adaptation is the only one out of these that I've read, and I loved it! Ash is by the same author, so hopefully it'll also be good. It seems pretty awesome by the synopsis. Oddly enough, I've read the other books in the Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings) series, but not the first one. I'm really counting on the chance that my sister will let me read some of them after, haha. 

What did you get this week?