Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cloaked by Alex Flinn


I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working and after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends met. But a little magic changed it all. it all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking-princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission. There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell I love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I know it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys. Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.

  • Number of pages: 337


Alex Flinn has perfected her story telling with her enchanting versions of Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. This time she went in a different direction combining all sorts of old, original fairy tales. I didn’t know more than half of these stories, but I don’t care because Alex Flinn made each of them separately come alive in CLOAKED. It was fun, refreshing, and cute. I can’t say that it was better than her other ones, but in its own way it was very engaging.

The main character was definitely unconventional, and absolutely not what you would think of when you hear “hero”. This is not even you would think to be a sidekick to be honest, that’s why it was so interesting. There were times when he really bugged me because he wasn’t one to go rushing in to save the princess (or in this case the prince) which seemed a little bit, well, wimpy at times. He did pull through though, props to him.

Something I loved a lot was the quotes. They were all mainly about shoes (because Johnny is obsessed with shoes), but I loved how they were thrown in there. And the mini excerpts of the fairy tales that were incorporated in the book.

All around CLOAKED was enjoyable, if not a bit predictable. I wasn't kept on my toes, or surprised as much as I would have liked, but I say it was pretty good so from 1-10? Alex Flinn’s CLOAKED gets a 6.5

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin


Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new girl at school. Soon the two become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory’s magnetic older brother, Ryland, appears. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe—but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, herself. Soon she’ll discover the shocking, fantastical truth about Ryland and Mallory, and about an age-old debt they expect Phoebe to pay. Will she be special enough to save herself.

  • Number of pages: 392


Extraordinary made me soooooo frustrated. I really am surprised I got through this book without throwing it in my pool or something drastic like that. I was so disappointed especially after reading Nancy Werlin’s book Impossible. Now THAT book was worth reading. This book had its semi- good moments, but to be honest, they were few. I don’t know what happened with this one. It was a good story, interesting plot . . . what went wrong?

Ah yes, I know! It was the characters! They were created right, but did they have to be like this? I mean, I get that Phoebe was suppose to be self conscious, but this book took that to the extreme. And I understand that fairies were tricking her, but come on people; she did some pretty stupid things on her own. And don’t even get me started on Ryland! The entire time I just wanted to punch that guy in the face. He is like the definition of “evil psycho fairy”. It wasn’t just that he is not the good guy, it’s that he is a complete and honest jerk who was obviously in need of heart. The minor characters of this book were great; it was just the main characters that really, REALLY bugged me. Like a lot. The only one that wasn’t that bad was Mallory, she was ok.

But I can’t blame all of it on the characters. I hate to say it, but this was kind of a snoozer. It was super slow, and it took me twice as long to finish this book than any other book I read. I did however finish it.

And I also got the moral of the book. It’s about what separates ordinary people from extraordinary people. The whole story was like a lesson in that aspect, and it did seem to stick with me. There were times when I was rooting for Phoebe. So adding up everything . . . from 1-10? I’m going to have to give it a 4.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


Brooklyn: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

Paris: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognized something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

  • Number of pages: 472


This book is emotional, intense, and heartbreaking . . . and I absolutely loved it. I can’t explain how deep and intense this book was for me. I thought it was going to be a historical fiction thing, but it was way more than that. Andi’s life is hell right now, and she can’t escape it. She is sad, angry, suicidal, and doesn’t really care about anything except her music. Her raw emotions were laid out on the pages of this book like a cover. I couldn’t get to a different page without feeling the heaviness that was inside her. The characters were really real for me (if that makes any sense).

This book isn’t really that much about Alexandrine, it was basically all about Andi with Alexandrine’s story helping Andi come to grips with her life. I enjoyed the informational tidbits that Donnely laid out here and there about the Revolution and the boy prince. I never really thought of him before when I thought “French Revolution”. His story is included here too, and I have to say that it is a heartbreaking story. There were many unique parts that were included in this book, but they were all relevant to the story except the transporting to Paris of the past. I get why it happened, but I don’t think it was necessary. I remember being confused and thinking . . . oookay that was a bit random. The way it came about was kinda cool, and the adventure she went through and experienced in Paris during the Revolution was extremely interested, but it seemed like it could have been a part of a different version of the story. I am not exactly sure if I am explaining this right, but there you have it. Even with this random twist and intense atmosphere throughout the story, I really did actually love it. From 1-10? Revolution definitely deserves an 8!!

*Warning to all those softies out there like me: this book taps into your tear ducts, so don’t be surprised to find yourself crying every once in a while.

Matched by Ally Condie


In the society, officials decide who you love, where you work, when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

  • Number of pages: 366


I came into this book expecting a lot from it with all its publicity and gossip, but I have to say I came out of it . . . neutral. It’s not to say that it wasn’t good or amazing, just ok. Maybe it was because of those high expectations, I don’t know. I found that the world created in Match a very interesting place. I have to give props to the author for that, I mean I don’t think it could be easy to build a whole new society from scratch, and I think this one was very thorough. There were so many details that made this world believable. I did particularly like the way in the beginning the author made it seem like it wasn’t that bad of a place to live in, but at the end you knew with all certainty that no one would want to be told what to do.

The romance was interesting. I know that this book was suppose to be based on a romance throughout the entire story, but it was a slow and sweet romance. Usually the two main guys are polar opposites in personality and character from one another, but in this book there were striking similarities, not it appearance so much as how they were both good people.

What I didn’t really like was how slow the book was in generally. I'm ok with slow unfolding novels, but this one was a bit too slow, and there was barely any action at all. All I’m saying is that there could have been more exciting things that would have kept me, the reader, on my toes a little bit more. I do, however, want to read the next book because you can’t really finish a story until the end of the series. I want to see what happens, and see Cassia break the status quo. From 1-10? Matched gets a 5.5

Cover Story: I really loved this cover. I love the Cassia's dress, her hair, the bubble. It was all very simple, and it totally makes sense with what the book is about.

Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner


It’s 1910, and Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish shtetl all the way to New York City. She is enthralled, overwhelmed, and even frightened, especially when she discovers that her sister has disappeared and she must now fend for herself. How do you survive in a foreign land without a job, a place to live, or a command of the native language? Perseverance and the kindness of handsome young Gavrel lead Raisa to work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewing bodices on the popular shirtwaists . . . until 1911 dawns, and one March day a spark ignites in the factory. Fabric and thread and life catch fire. And he flames burn hot enough to change Raisa—and the entire city—forever.

  • Number or pages: 386

You know, I did a project on this horrible disaster a couple of years ago for a history project. I found facts, causes, stats, and countless of pictures. But this book really opened up my mind; I now understand that these were people with lives that were cut short. All the information I found was very factual and precise, like most things we learn in history. This book gave that same history a story and life.

Raisa’s story starts from her final days in the shtetl where she bids farewell to her friends there. It seemed so wrong to me that these families had to choose between a future and their lives back home. I find Raisa to be super brave. Her goal at the beginning is to go find her older sister who has been living in New York City for some time now. And that’s just what she plans to do. To me it seemed like the boat ride to the States took up only a little part in the book. A lot of things happened in that part, but I found it a very interesting part. I mean, exactly were the living conditions on those things? Makes me shiver just thinking of going on one of those things, and for days! Then of course there is her first couple of experiences in America, her obvious obstacles and such. It shows her actions, the difficulties of being new to a country that is completely different from what one is experienced with. You meet fascinating new characters, each with their own personalities and uniqueness. You really get to be a part of their little, quiet, hardworking lives. You experience things with them.

That’s when the fire hits.

It only last for a chapter or two in the book (where as in real life it last just about a half an hour). Fast, but not fast enough. The loss of lives was devastating as well as a wake up call for the city. The fire was the main event of the book, obviously, but I think it was brilliant how Friesner only put a certain amount of it in the book. It showed just how quick and horrible it all was. I don’t believe this book was written just to depict a disaster, but to show you the people affected by it. It wasn't just about the reasons why it happened, or the numbers of people who perished. It gave those numbers life. Raisa’s story was an inspirational kind of book. From 1-10? I give this great historical fiction a 6.5

Monday, March 14, 2011

Impossible by Nancy Werlin


Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Number of Pages: 364


A round of applause for Nancy Werlin’s novel Impossible! Many YA books now a days are getting really repetitive and cliché. Werlin definitely thought out-of-the-box when she wrote this book.

Impossible is about Lucy Scarborough’s family curse and her attempt to break it. When she gets pregnant, and finally discovers what this curse actually means and what could happen to her and her baby if she doesn’t try to end it once and for all. Her family and her have until the birth of the baby to succeed in three impossible tasks or else the cycle will start again.

I love when books are based on other things such as folk tales or old songs. To me it seems extra difficult for writers to create their own unique twist to an already existing piece. This book specifically did a great job on that. It took the “Scarborough Fair” ballad and created a puzzling page-turner for readers. It was amazing to see how she looked at the tasks in logical ways, which were: 1. Make me a magical shirt without any seam or needlework 2. Find me an acre of land between the salt water and the seastrand, and 3. Plow it with just a goat’s horn and sow it all over with one grain of corn. To do all this while pregnant? That’s impressive by anyone’s standards! The way Lucy acted during the whole process of breaking the curse was a little too composed. I’m sure any other girl would be freaking out at times, but I guess that is just the way she is. More power to her! There were some graphic moments, and also some very raw emotional moments for her that really drags our your sympathetic side and makes you feel what the characters were feeling. In those moments it felt like there was an empathy link between Lucy and me. Thank goodness she had her family there! Lucy’s family was very interactive during the whole novel, which was good. The author showed a typical, protective family. I found it very reassuring, something normal in the mist of a really, really weird situation. The ending was perfect for this story. It was exciting yet realistic, it didn’t leave me wondering or unsatisfied. Impossible was basically an all around entertaining story so I say that from 1-10? Impossible gets a 7.5!

Oh I almost forgot to comment on the cover! Now, I saw that there was also another cover for this book which is amazing too, but I find that I like this one just a bit more. I love the wind blown hair image, and the background is spectacular, don't ya think?