December 5, 2014

The Good Dog Review

As part of my personal young adult challenge I read The Good Dog by AVI. This was the first book I chose off the shelves and the first book I've finished as part of my challenge.

 
When the Wild Calls McKinley, a malamute, is a good dog -- he's reliable and trustworthy. Whether it's watching over the other dogs of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, or taking care of his human pup, Jack, McKinley never even thinks of letting anyone down -- until he meets Lupin. Lupin is a she-wolf and she's urging the dogs of Steamboat Springs to leave their domesticated lives and join her wild pack. And though she scares McKinley, he also finds himself drawn to her and the life of freedom that she offers.

For the first time, McKinley's loyalties are torn. Should he stay with his humans and continue to lead the dogs of Steamboat Springs? Or should he join the wolf and live freely, like his ancestors did? When the wild calls, what will McKinley's answer be?





My thoughts:
I would hesitate to call this a book for young adults. This was more a book for children ages 7-11. That being said, it wasn't a bad book and I did enjoy reading a less well-known AVI book. This book is about a dog, McKinley who has to deal with the struggle of whether is more interested in being a "good dog" or honoring his wolf ancestors. Because the book was more appropriate for a younger audience, the writing was quite simplified and the characters weren't extremely developed. The author did try to put human terms/objects into terms a dog might understand- for example "cold box", "more car place", etc. The book has a heavy message of what it means to be a dog owner and emphasizes kind treatment to animals and viewing our pets as equals rather than possessions.

Overall, this was a simple cute read that I would feel great about giving to any young reader, mostly a young boy who is dog-obsessed or into wolves. I don't think this counts as a young adult book however.

December 4, 2014

Young Adult Library Personal Challenge

Today I went to the library to return some of the zombie books I had checked out and I was wandering the young adult stacks looking for more books to fuel my addiction, I thought "Huh. I've actually read most of these books. I wonder if I could read all of them." And so my personal challenge was born. 

I have challenged myself to read every book in the young adult section of my public library. Every. One. No matter the subject matter, length, or personal interest. So I started picking random books off the shelves. I'm not going by any particular order. 

This week's books are: 


The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson


The Good Dog by AVI


In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters


Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan


The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman



In The Space Left Behind by Joan Ackermann


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

And


Prodigy by Marie Lu

I'll still be reading adult books but my min focus will be on my personal challenge so be on a look out for this week's reviews!

June 17, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Masque of the Red Death


So I know I may be the only person who HASN'T read The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin but just in case you missed the bandwagon too, I've decided to use it for Teaser Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate all you need to do is grab your current read, flip to a page, and post 2 teaser non-spoiler sentences from that page!

Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday and Wishlist Wednesday

Today I'm joining Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine

This is a meme where you post about an upcoming book that you're excited about. 

I'll be joining my Waiting on Wednesday post with Wishlist Wednesday hosted by Pen to Paper


This is a meme where you post about a book that you can't wait to get off your wishlist and onto your shelves!

The book that I have been waiting for for more than 8 months that was just released is The One by Kiera Cass. 

The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.
America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.


I finished book two in this series The Elite back in November when I couldn't find a concrete answer for when the last book was coming out and it drove me crazy! I'm super excited the book is finally out- it was released May 6th but I'm still going to have to wait to get it from the library or find room in the budget to buy it. 

I find myself really enjoying this book- it is kind of a Cinderella tale with lots of women coming to the ball to vie for the Prince's attention but only one is going to come away the queen. I don't really know why I enjoy this book so much though. There is a serious case of insta-love here and now we have two love triangles- one on either side and this is objectively the kind of book I can't stand. BUT I REALLY DO ENJOY IT AND I CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! I can view this book as an objective outsider and it really isn't a great book- the main plot is who is going to end up with who and the secondary plot is what is happening with the country but somehow it works.

Have you read The Selection? What do you think? Have you ever had a book that you loved that you had no idea WHY you love it? Leave me a comment and let me know!

May 13, 2014

Teaser Tuesday


Today I will joining Teaser Tuesday- a meme by Should Be Reading- where you grab your current read, flip to a random page, and post 2 (non-spoiler) teaser sentences.

In honor of me being back into blogging (I hate when life interferes with my reading) and posting the Mid Year Wrap Up of my Zombie Reading Challenge, I have decided to post my Teaser Tuesday from World War Z by Max Brooks. Warning, one of the teasers is rather graphic in nature- I think it adds to the Zombie feel but it might be unsettling to some.


The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. "World War Z" is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years. 

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War. 

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, "By excluding the human factor, aren't we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn't the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as 'the living dead'?" 

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission. Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war.


Today's teaser come from page 219-220:
She warned me to stay off it and every other road that crisscrossed the basin. "Roads mean cars," she said, "and cars mean Gs." 

 The first G I saw was small, probably a kid, I couldn't tell. Its face was eaten off, the skin, nose, eyes, lips, even the hair and ears... not completely gone, but partially hanging or stuck in patches to the exposed skull.
I've already read this book and I love the varying view points as you read about the war with the undead and how humans lied to protect themselves or sacrificed it all for the good of others. It was an awesome read and this week I'll be rereading it and posting a review. 

What do you think of zombie books and my teasers? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Mid Year Zombie Reading Challenge Wrap Up


I've been a little out of commission for a while but I am still love me some zombies! This is our mid-year May wrap up.
I entered the challenge as a Dead Head and I'm severely behind schedule with only 1 zombie book read. Ahhh! I need to get on the ball! I have about 4 books with zombies that I can't wait to reread but I haven't had a chance to yet.

The book I read was Plague Town by Dana Fredsti and I really enjoyed it! Feel free to enter your reviews in the linky below so the other participants can stop by and see what kind of awesome undead read you encountered!



January 29, 2014

Review: The Eye of Minds by Jame Dashner

Earlier this week I finished The Eye of Minds by James Dashner. I'm a huge fan of Dashner's Maze Runner series so when I saw he had started another series, I eagerly snatched the book up at the library. I had high hopes for this novel because I know Dashner is a good author and the summary sounded promising. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I hoped I would. Read on for my full review.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16279856-the-eye-of-mindsMichael 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.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.
My summary: This book is set in the far future where everyone spends as much time as possible on the VirtNet. You access the VirtNet by laying in your "Coffin"- so named for its shape and how you lay inside it. The coffin then inserts metal wires into your skin and you're off to the VirtNet to experience real life- only realer. Through VirtNet you can enter a variety of games- the typical fight zombies, shoot laser beams, go on epic adventures kind of games. But the most popular aspect of VirtNet isn't the adventures but the ability to experience real life online. You can shop, eat, and hang out with friends in the VirtNet. The books begins with our hero Michael hearing some of the villain's exploits for the first time. The next day, Michael is approached by VirtNet security and is quickly entrusted with a state secret and the mission to find the villian in the VirtNet. Michael brings his friends in for the mission and so starts a dangerous, fast-paced adventure to stop a madman.

My opinion on this book:
This book was way too fast-paced for me to truly enjoyed it. In the Maze Runner series it made sense for the reader to discover the world quickly along with the narrator but this kind of fast-paced world building doesn't work for this book.

I wish we could have been introduced to the VirtNet and the culture of the world before all the action began. It also seemed a little rushed that Michael hears of the villain and the next thing anyone knows, he's being threatened by the VirtNet security to find the bad guy. The way the security team approached Michael was unbelievable. The security team basically kidnaps a 16 year old, threatens him and his family, and then entrusts him with a state secret after he promises not to tell? And then sends the 16 year old off on a dangerous mission with only a "We'll be watching. Your friends can help if they want to." It's not believable. It's not even believable in the "It's a weird culture in the future" kind of way. The adventure is strong and interesting and because it was such a fast read it held my attention but some aspects are just too unbelievable to be entertaining.

The hero of this book felt rather two-dimensional to me as well. It seems like all he cares about is reaching a new level in the VirtNet and he feels really self-absorbed to me. He doesn't notice for days that his nanny has been kidnapped? killed? misplaced? He is approached by VirtNet for his amazing hacker abilities but we actually see his two friends do more of the hacking than he does. The characters just all felt two-dimensional and I can't say there was a character I truly cared about in this book.

The ending was over quickly and to be honest, I was a little confused over what was going on. I didn't know what Michael was doing or why he was doing it. The whole ending was just wrong to me. There was a plot twist revealed in the end of the book that seemed to be a bit of a stretch for the reader to believe.

Overall, I just did not care for this book. I hate giving negative reviews but there were too many issues for me to overlook. I loved Dashner's Maze Runner series but it seemed like he tried to recreate the action in a different setting and it didn't work. This was a book that required more world building and character development. I understand that some books require a suspension of reality but parts of this book were just too unbelievable to be accepted. It was an interesting idea but definitely could have been executed better.

On a positive note, the book was fast and hopefully the plot will encourage more teenage males to read. The idea of the VirtNet is quite interesting.

I have read several positive reviews of this book and it has a high rating on Goodreads so please be aware, this could be my personal issues with this book and you may love it to pieces. I cannot in good conscious recommend this book because I didn't enjoy it but if the plot sound interesting to you and you are willing to overlook the above issues with it, don't let my review keep you from trying this book. I am also fully aware that I may have had too high expectations for this book as I am a huge fan of the author's Maze Runner series. I knew the author was capable of greatness so I held him to that standard.  If I pick up the sequel it will be out of curiosity, not any real excitement to continue this series.

In the end, it is up to each individual reader to form their opinion about a book.That doesn't mean book reviews are useless. It is more a matter of finding a reviewer who seems to have the same opinions on books you do and taking every review with a grain of salt. It also means listening to the issues people have with books and asking yourself if it's something that will bother you or if you're willing to overlook it. If you are just looking for a fast-paced adventure novel set in a high tech world- this book may be just what you're looking for. If you're looking for a solid futuristic read with a world you can explore and immerse yourself in, I would not recommend this book.

Have you read Eye of Minds? What did you think of it? What do you think of negative reviews? Should a blog post a negative review or only write reviews of books that the reader enjoyed? How much world building do you need to enjoy a futuristic book? Leave me a comment and let me know!

January 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday/First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros/Top Ten Tuesday


There are so many awesome memes happening on Tuesdays that I couldn't pick just one. This post is a combination of Teaser Tuesday hosted by Should Be Reading, First Chapter, First Paragraph intro hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea, and Top Ten Tuesday hosted by Broke and Bookish



First is Teaser Tuesday hosted by Should Be Reading. For this meme simply grab your current read, flip to a random page, and share 2 non-spoiler teaser sentences from that page! For my Teaser Tuesday, I'll be posting from a book that I got from the library yesterday- Between Shades of Gray by Ruda Sepetys.

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

I flipped to page 92 to see:
"Lina," said Mother. "This is serious. The Soviets could arrest you if they saw your drawing."
and
"Is that what you want?" he finally asked. "To blow up the Soviets?" 

For my First Chapter, First Paragraph where you share the first paragraph of a book you're reading or will be reading soon, I picked Crewel by Gennifer Albin.

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

The first paragraph of the intro is:
They came in the night. Once, families fought them, neighbors coming to their aid. But now that peace has been established, and the looms proven, girls pray to be retrieved. They still come at night, but now it's to avoid the masses with eager hands. It's a blessing to touch a Spinster as she passes. That's what they tell us. 

The question for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is:
"Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In" 
This is an interesting question because usually when we read books we want to pretend we're in that world. But there are some books that I'm just grateful I'm not in their shoes! In no particular order, the worlds I'd hate to live in are:




  • Panem from the Hunger Games series
  • America from Steelheart
  • America from Delirium
  • America from Maze Runner series
  • America from The Selection
  • America from The Chemical Garden series
  • America from All These Things I've Done
  • America from The Razorland
  • America from The Partials Sequence
  • The Uglies Trilogy
  • All of my top ten feature a future that leaves something to be desired. They are all awesome reads but a horrible way to live.
    That's the end of my teaser, first chapter intro, and top tens list. Do you participate in any memes? Do you like reading about them? What do you think about the teasers I posted? Do you prefer reading a random page in a book or the first paragraph when you're looking at a book to read? Would you keep reading based off that intro? What book world would you hate to live in? Leave me a comment and let me know!