Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Wrap-Up Post (A Post of Failures and Victories)

Though I failed in reading what I posted about at the beginning of the month (Here's a LINK.) I did manage to read enough books to stay on track with my Goodreads goal of 50 books in a year. :D In this post I wanted to talk a tiny bit about the books I did read and link up the reviews I did so you can check them out.

I read these books:



And did these reviews: (Click them to check out the review.)

Switched by Amanda Hocking

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I'm still planning on doing reviews sometime on Every You, Every Me and The Future of Us. They were both great reads!

If you do a wrap up post at the end of the month feel free to link it up in the comments and I'll check it out. Also, what book was your favorite that  you read in January?  :)

--Alexis
Monday, January 30, 2012

Review of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Author(s): Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Release Date: October 26th, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Pages In This Edition: 272
Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Timesbestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? "

Review:

I read this book a couple of weeks ago, and gave it a three star rating. But when I went back and started to think about a review a day or so ago, I wondered why I did that. I couldn't think of a single thing that would make me give it only three stars, so I went and upgraded it to four.

This was a very cute read. The first two chapters will leave anyone will any kind of sense of humor smiling. Dash starts the book with a chapter that can only be described as anti-everything. Dash's growth throughout the book is amazingly realistic and fantastical at the same time. By the end he is a guy I would love to date. Or marry. I liked him that much. He's kind of every nerd school girl's fantasy. *Swoon*

Lily isn't much to snub at either. Her character blooms and expands and becomes so rich throughout the book that it feels like you know her. Her family is hilarious and one of my favorite supporting characters is her brother just because of how funny their relationship as siblings places into the plot.

The plot was what tied this amazing display of character development up with a pretty bow. Though it was a little slow in the middle, it was a realistic slowness. The feelings of Dash and Lily are given time to mature and grow like they would in real life. And though the idea that this red notebook always ended up back in their hands seems a little far fetched, it was cute. So adorable in fact this Christmas themed story is probably one I will want to re-read. :)

--Alexis
Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (20) January 29th, 2012

It's time for In My Mailbox again this week. In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren where bloggers talk about the books that they've bought, borrowed, or received for review.

This week I didn't get any books for review, but I did get one from the library:

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.


And that's it for me this week! I'm excited for this book and kind of worried at the same time; there has been a lot of hype so hopefully this can manage to live up to it. :)

What did you get in your mailbox? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your IMM and I'll be sure to check it out. :)

--Alexis
Friday, January 27, 2012

Review of Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Title: Please Ignore Vera Dietz
Author: A.S. King
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf for Young Readers
Release Date: October 12th, 2010
Source: Library
Pages In This Edition: 336
Rating: 3/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising."

Review:

I think I was disappointed by the time I finished this book. I had seen it around for awhile, and was immediately turned off by the cover. I didn't like smoking and it seemed like a "boy book." But when certain people that had recommended books that I had absolutely loved started talking about it again out of the blue, I figured I should give it a read. Though it was a good story, it dragged in places and wasn't the WOW book that I had heard it was.

Let's talk about the characters. Vera is understandably upset and trying to find herself after the loss of Charlie. She thinks she knows everything there is to know about life and her family situation. I think that she was a believable character in many ways, and her growth throughout the book is great, but there were multiple times I just wanted to yell at her through the book and tell her to get a grip. It was frustrating. Maybe I'm just insensitive and mean. I was rooting for her, and thank God near the end she started figuring some things out.

Charlie is probably my favorite character and he was dead. The flashbacks throughout the book help paint a great picture of him and he seems like the kind of guy I would like to get to know; quirky and fun and a little crazy. I just wished he could have been ALIVE in the book.

The plot was mostly centered around Vera finding herself, so to be honest it was kind of slow. Things didn't happen very fast, and when they did I thought the pacing was uneven. There were times things happened I wasn't expecting at all, making me wonder if there should have been a lot more foreshadowing.

The end is what brought the book up to a round 3 stars for me. Though it took a while to get there, Vera eventually made some good choices that equaled to a more satisfying ending then I was expecting. Overall, you should give this book a read if you don't mind a slower plot and a lot of sometimes boring flashbacks; the character development is worth a read.

--Alexis
Saturday, January 21, 2012

In My Mailbox (19) January 22nd, 2012

I'm finally doing an IMM! It seems like it's been forever since I've done one, even though in reality I've only missed two weeks. I've gotten quite a few books in that time, so rather than post images I'm just going to make a list. (That's lazy, I know....)

1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Ooku (Volumes 1 and 2) I returned these.
(Thumbs down)
3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
4. All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
5. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
6. The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell
7. A Long, Long, Sleep by Anna Sheehan

And that's it for me! I'm super excited for most of these! I'm reading The Future of Us right now but after that I'm probably going to start A Long, Long, Sleep. And The Scorpio Races! (I've been wanted to read that one for awhile now.)

So what did you get in your mailbox? Tell me in the comments or post a link to your IMM and I'll be sure to check it out. :)

--Alexis
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Swap?

I have a feeling that I'm not the only blogger out there that has books that they would like to get rid of, and books that they would like to read. Anyone else in this situation?

Please email me and I can get you a list of books that I would be willing to get rid of if someone swaps with me.

Email: bandrocks95(at)gmail(dot)com

Review of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in our Stars
Author: John Green
Format: Hardcover (signed!)
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: January 10th, 2012
Pages in this Edition: 313
Rating: 5/5 Stars

On the Cover:




Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."

Review:

This book is WOW. This book is OMG. This book is everything I wanted all wrapped up in a perfect little package with a shiny bow.

Not that I was expecting anything less from John Green. His books are my favorite books ever. Looking  for Alaska? Brilliant. Paper Towns? Don't get me started. So to say that this book was amazing after all the hype and all the waiting and all the pre-ordering-a-signed-copy-crazyness is pretty spectacular all by it's self.

"Well what did you like about it?" you may ask.

My response would be: "Where do I start?" The story is full and rich and though sometimes predictable (and that's only because I'm fairly good at predicting these things) it's full of humor and truth and everything you could ever want in a plot. Hazel is exactly how I would be if I got cancer; sarcastic and witty and just stupefied with the thought of dying, clinging to the living world in every way she knows how. 

But my favorite character is definitely Gus. He breathes life and joy and quirky beauty in only a way that John Green can write: realistic as hell and humorous enough to crack a rib. I don't want to say much for, for fear of ruining the experience.

For these reasons and many more I will never forget reading The Fault in Our Stars. So the only question is: Why aren't you reading it yet!?

--Alexis
Saturday, January 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (18) January 8th, 2012

It's IMM time! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren; it's where bloggers talk about the books that they've bought, borrowed, or received for review.

This week I made a trip to the library, and received a surprise book in the mail. (Who doesn't like that??")

These are the books I got at the library:
1. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
2. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
3. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

And I got this book in the mail:
The Power of Habit (Why We Do What We Do and How to Change It)








That's it for me this week! What did you get in your mailbox? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your IMM in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out. :)

--Alexis

Monday, January 2, 2012

Review of Switched by Amanda Hocking

Title: Switched
Author: Amanda Hocking
Format: ARC
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Pages In This Edition: 293
Rating: 4/5

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:

Summary (from Goodreads):

"When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it."


Review: 
As soon as I got the ARC for this one back in November, I knew that I had to read it. So I did, in two days. Yes folks, it was that good. I knew that I would probably like it because I have read some Amanda Hocking in the past; her My Blood Approves series is still my favorite self-pub books I've ever read. That's why I was so happy to learn that she had been picked up by a major publishing company!

I've heard that some people didn't like this book for whatever reason. I don't know why they didn't though! I thought it was great; the pacing, the characters (Wendy is a great heroine. Even though she is sometimes oblivious.) and the hot guy (because what YA paranormal would be complete without one??) The story takes off from the beginning and I never knew what was going to happen next.

There was one time that I felt the book dragged (near the end before the climax) but it was understandable; you can't have a book that is fast paced from beginning to end. Excluding maybe The Hunger Games. The end was probably my favorite part of the book. Can you talk about a cliff-hanger? I hope I get to read the second book in the series long before the publication date too! I don't know if I can deal with the suspense! I'll be interested to see if Amanda Hocking's other book series are also picked up by St. Martin's or another publisher or if this is the only series that she is going to seek major publication for.

Anyway, overall, Switched is the perfect fantasy/romance/adventure if you are in a reading slump or just want an amazingly quick joy-ride. :)

--Alexis

Sunday, January 1, 2012

TBR January 2012

With the start of the new year, one of the things I plan on doing is a TBR or "to be read" post at the beginning of each month, and then a wrap-up post at the end of the month that links all the reviews I've done in that month and my favorite read of that month. Four books will be featured in the TBR, but I may read more books that month and those will be in the wrap-up. :)

Here are the books I'm going to be reading:

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer











2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl











3. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl











4. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garicia and Margaret Stohl











I need to get those last three books off my TBR! Hopefully I'll love the series; I started Beautiful Creatures forever ago but I just didn't finish it. So this month I plan on reading all the books in the series (at least the ones that have been released so far.) I'm super excited for this month! I'm reading Cinder for the Debut Author Challenge (hosted by The Story Siren). I can tell already that 2012 is going to be a great year for reading. :D

--Alexis

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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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With Beyond the Cover, I want to help people interested in YA with a resource to refer to. This blog will be composed of reviews as well as other book related subjects.



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