Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eden's Root by Rachel E. Fisher


It is 2033, and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. Is the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Thirteen-year-old Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her at a young age. But when her dying father makes a shocking confession, Fi realizes that her toughness will be pushed to its absolute limits.

Saddled with an impossible secret and mission of saving her little sister, Fi gets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental . . . and that love can be intentional.

  • Number of pages: 376


Eden’s Roots deserves a round of applause and a cheer or two. If any other bloggers have read and reviewed this book along with me, then I hope it is safe to assume that they were just as equally captivated by this amazing sci-fi story as I was, but I would love to put my two cents in as well. Fi is a narrator and Leader like no other. I followed her like a member of her Family would, and I am proud to say I survived this journey right along side her. The world is coming to an end in the ways of the normal every day-to-day life. To be honest the details as to what exactly is going on left me a little fuzzy, but I will try to summarize and explain the details without giving too much away. Food, regular food, has been contaminated over the years, processed and manipulated so many times that over eventually it has generated so much disease and created the “Sickness”. The “Sickness” in this book refers to cancerous diseases, though I believe other kinds of diseases are considered as well. The amount of Sickfood soon starts to kill all forms of vegetation, and basically the world is in for a global Famine. Anyway, no one really knows about the Sickfood, except a selected few such as scientists who are preparing for the worst and have created a safe haven where they can reconstruct and rebuild. One of those few people is Fi’s dad who is one of the main scientists working on the effort to build this haven, Eden. When he becomes Sick, he and his family are crossed off from the list of candidates allowed to join this new colony and have a better chance of survival. Before his death he gives all he knowledge to his daughter in the hopes that she can lead her sister and mother to safety.

It was incredible seeing how a girl that is pictured as normal, as ordinary, is transformed into this character with the burden of much older and wiser people, a person who leads many souls to safety. The process written in which she does become a warrior with all the fighting and toughness included was a bit lengthy, but overall created a picture of complete and utter dedication. Fi is really no average girl, but then again isn’t there something more than average in all of us? Along the way she meets and connects with a group of people that I have come to love as well. Each and every individual was spectacularly created to contribute and share some love with me, as the reader. The journey was arduous, the conditions frightening, and I felt it all first hand.

I really want to focus on how this book was written in regards to point of views. It had a switching view from Fi, to her best friend Sean, to another boy that you meet along the way. They all tie together, obviously, but it was Fi’s mind that was kept dominant. She was the core of the story, as well as the core of her Family being Leader. I felt her burden, her determination, and her uncontrollable rage. That’s what really made the story amazing. It made it real, you know? It wasn’t a story about a girl who become a super hero and a hard ass and overall seems untouchable, neither about a girl who is weak and in the end shows her true colors. This was a book of survival, and it emanated off of Fi like an odor. She felt pain, fear, and worry along with happiness, excitement, even peace. I admit to some well-deserved tears on my part (much to my families amusement). It wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but I also felt humor and love written between words. I found it a great experience.

I also loved how real the situation all seemed. This book frightened me in that aspect a bit. The Famine, the Sickfood, the fact that a lot of the things that we have and do today were portrayed in a different light to show how terribly it could all go wrong. It seemed possible. I do have to warn my readers that this book is mild in many ways, but it could get very graphic in many others. Like I said, this is a survival story, and the things done in this book were things that may seem out of hand, but it was done in order to survive. It brought up some serious questions that I found interesting to think about. What would you do to survive? What would you give, sacrifice for the good of yourself and loved ones?

As I look over my review I realize that it is a bit long, and I am pleased with that. Why? Because it means that this book opened my brain a bit more, and had me thinking, reaaaally thinking. It wasn’t a book to just follow along. I really thought if that makes any sense. It was . . . and “intelligent” book, I guess. Like food for thought! From 1-10? Eden’s Roots gets an 8.5

The Siren by Kiera Cass


“You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are, essentially, a weapon. I won’t like to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time . . .”

The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can’t bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she’s been waiting for doesn’t seem nearly as important as the one she’s living now.

  • Number of pages: 276


The Siren was a new kind of story, with some flair of the usual. I can’t say it was the average story either because the plot line was very interesting to follow along. It’s the story about Kahlen’s sentence as a siren. She takes you through each of the biggest episodes in her 100 years as siren, and how, along the way, she discovers a person who she is willing to risk anything and everything for.

Like I said, the story was interesting, but I couldn’t help but get tired eyes as I read the book. It was long and it was monotonous at times. It’s not that the story was boring, only that many parts were extended and it made me tired to read it at times. It’s like she kept ranting in her head or something.

Something that I found extremely great was how the author gave life to the Ocean. She was real, and She felt and loved and thought as well. I can’t really explain it, only that I felt connected to the Ocean. I thought that was just amazing. So adding all the qualities together, from 1-10? I’d say The Siren gets a 6. 

My Life in Black & White by Natasha Friend


What if you lost the thing that made you who you are? Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi’s face goes through a windshield. Now she’s not sure what’s worse: the scares she’ll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she’s much more than just a pretty face.

  • Number of pages: 304


Short and to the point, this book started off depicting an average, beautiful girl and showed to process she went through to become someone who accepts herself for who she is. And the process to get there wasn’t pretty let me tell you.

The story was cute in and of itself. Personally I found parts to be a bit overplayed, but it really got the connection through as to how she was hurting. I can’t say that a lot of the things that happened surprised me. There was an undertone of cliché moments, to be sure, but it was nice to see how it ended. It was definitely an “okay book” if not “good”, but I can’t say that I was on the edge of my seat or anything. It was a classic “bad thing happens-disaster-everything turns out okay” story, and there is nothing wrong with that. I did like how in the end, when Lexi starts getting a clue and finally starts fixing her life, the tone of the book became very . . . philosophical. From 1-10? I deem it a 5. 

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks


Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may ne the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help—no matter the risk.

  • Number of pages: 336


Charming and laugh out loud funny, Of Poseidon was truly a special treat. As I sit on a recliner in the middle of a spectacular ocean view, I fantasize that I can see Emma and Galen as they try to discover more about Emma’s past and Gifts right on the ocean floor. What mostly captured me about the whole book was the dialogue and interaction of the characters. It was charming and super realistic . . . funny too. When I said laugh out loud funny I wasn’t joking. My whole family probably heard my peals of laughter around the house. The plot and story line was particularly interesting. It’s not a typical story. The whole mystery about what exactly Emma is and the wonder of how Emma and Galen’s love for each other can actually survive their trials was captivating. All the characters in this story were created in a way that you know they were real, in a sense. Like they could actually be the kind of people I would find in my high school . . . except for the fins. I didn’t put the book down once. In fact, this is the second time I read it in less than four days! That’s got to say something right? Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed myself. From 1-10? I give it a good, solid 8 

The Selection by Kiera Cass


For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to the future she never imagined.

  • Number of pages: 336


Originality to the max! Not only was the whole Selection competition completely creative, but also the whole kingdom where this book takes place is so unique and yet so familiar! Basically this all takes place who knows how much into the future where the United States of America is now a kingdom after two more world wars and who knows what else. All of history was rewritten, but it all seemed familiar to me what with planes and phones and such. The biggest difference had to be the new caste system. It was weird to think that that was how my country would function into the future, but interesting to think about.

Anyway, I thought the whole book to be completely original from the usually love triangles I read about, so there are definitely huge brownie points because of that! The characters were nicely created if not a bit predictable. It was enjoyable nonetheless. I had a great time reading the “Bachelor-like” competition, seeing girls swoon for the prince and get eliminated in the mean time. I loved BOTH Aspen and Maxon, it was so hard not to! What did kind of irk me was how the story closed off. This is a trilogy, but I didn’t like how it just stopped. Nothing big happened leaving me wondering, or anything like that . . . it just seem to “pause”. I think that ending could have set me up for the next book in a better way. But what do I know? It was just a feeling that I thought I would share. I do want to look up the next and see what’s going to happen, but, for now, from 1-10? I’ll give it a 6.5

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mortal Instrument Series Book 5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare


The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace freed from captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing, so is the boy she hates: her brother Sebastian, who is determined to bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
The Clave’s magic cannot locate either boy, but Jace can’t stay away from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s magic has wrought—Jace and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become a servant of evil.
Only a few people believe that Jace can still be saved. Together, Alec, Magnus,, Simon, and Isabelle bargain with the sinister Seelie Queen, contemplate deals with demons, and turn at last to the merciless, weapon-making Iron Sisters, who might be able to gorge a weapon that can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. If the Iron Sister’s can’t help, their only hope is to challenge Heaven and Hell—a risk that could claim their lives.
And they must do it without Clary. For Clary is playing a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Number of pages: 534


I’m not sure what to say. If you’ve read my reviews on the Mortal Instruments series, even the Infernal Devices series that is also by the same author, you know that I adore these books. The writing, the characters, the plot line, all of it is constructed in a way that leaves you literally on the edge of your seat (in my case it’s my bed) and hooked on every word that is written between the very detailed covers of the book. City of Lost Souls, book five in the Mortal Instruments series, has all those aspects as well, but I can’t help feel that the whole plot line is being dragged on a bit. There are so many added twists and dramas and conflicts . . . why can’t they have an ending, preferably a happy one? I would go into detail as to why, but that would be a direct violation of my no spoilers motto. Trust me on this one, if you haven’t read the series and you want to start, you won’t want me ruining anything by giving up any info.

Other than feeling like Clary and her friends’ story will never end, the book was all right. The characters were magnificently played out, as always. I fell in love with Simon in this book, no biggie. I laughed so hard in this book, and yelled with excitement a few times. There were some creepy and disturbing parts, so I do not recommend any of my younger readers to get a hold of this book, at least not until they are ready. I rate it a strong PG-13. I felt like new sides of each of the characters were shown. Those you never thought would do anything bad ended up betraying people, while those who are hard and stoic half the time were surprisingly tender and sincere. I feel like the conflict in this book was a little much. Like I said I want to know the ending (ahh!), even if I don’t want this series to end. Then again . . . that’s what rereading is for. Anyway, not only did read a book that I really like though it was drawn out, I also have to wait until who knows how long for the next and final book in the series to come out to see how everyone ends up even though I am going to have to RE-re-read all five books again to remember how things left off. Tedious, I know. After all this, they better end up in a good place, or else I am going to go crazy. From 1-10? I’ll give it an 8. Mostly because I am a bit biased, not going to lie.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Poetic Nights by Dwight Francis

This isn’t exactly a review. I couldn’t do a review on a book of poems because prose and poetry are two very different things. I couldn’t very well review a whole book when each poem written in it is unique and completely different in many ways. This is a book of poems that I received from my awesome guidance counselor at my school. He is the author of this book, and it was great seeing a different side to Mr. Francis through his writing because I feel that is what poetry is all about, right? It’s about writing what you feel, the innermost part of your heart and bearing it out for others to see and experience with you. I really felt that here, as I read about his family and friends and life and goals.

I wrote down some of the poems that I enjoyed instead of an overall review. I hope you enjoy them! “Live long, live free, live happy for me.”

My Quest for Greatness

I traveled the world for all to see,
a shining beauty destined to succeed.

I am full of delight soaring above and beyond,
The skies is the limit, so please prepare my flight.

The road was rocy—full of rain and thunder,
But I had no fear, because this tiger is a hunter.

Meet me at the river, that’s where I lay,
From this turbulent journey, to God I pray.

You can rest assured I will not stray . . .
Forward into battle, a continuous movement
That involves no play.

So day-by-day I will fulfill my quest,
Striving for greatness to be the very best.

Blue Skies

As blue as the sky
I am vivacious and warm.
Fulling my heart with compassion,
Students embrace me with affection.
Loving and always nurturing, my sensitivity
Ignites a fire in their eyes, and that’s why
My love will always shine bright . . .
As bright as the blue skies.

Torn by Ashley S. Morgan


Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her.
Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she'll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it's overwhelming. She feels like she's literally drowning in other people's emotions.

This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she's got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances.

Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn't. And he's somehow so familiar.

She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?

Number of pages: 231


This summary was sent to me by the author a week or so ago, and I finally got around to it. It seemed like an interesting plot, not exactly the typical star-crossed lovers. It was a nice quick read, but I did have some issues with Torn that kind of turned me off to the idea of the story.

For one thing, the characters to me seemed a little  . . . off. It was like looking at a high school society as how and adult may see it. There were interesting characters, but they just seemed to interact like as if they were in a bad sitcom. The language used between the characters was pretty off. I don’t know if it is just my friends and me, but we don’t talk like the characters talked. It just seemed kind of fake to me.

As you can see by the bullet above, the book is 231 pages and not much at all. I am not opposed to small books, I actually enjoy a nice quick read every once in a while, but this story seemed to use a lot of those pages up for things that didn’t seem all that important. I feel like there was some stuff missing and then all of a sudden the big event came up.  Other than that stuff, I felt like the plot was pretty interesting. It is definitely not a plot that you see often, but the bad sitcom feel of it really turned me off to the story line. From 1-10? I give Torn a 4.

Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer


Two climbed up. Two fell down.

One woke up.

Robin Saunders is a high school sophomore with an awesome best friend, a hard-working single mom, and a complicated relationship with a sweet guy named Reno. She's coasting along, trying to get through yet another tedious year of high school, when Em suggests something daring. They live in Florida-- tourist central--and Emily wants to sneak into a theme park after midnight and see what they're made of.

When things get out of control, Robin wakes up in a hospital bed and Emily doesn't wake up at all. Just getting dressed becomes an ordeal as Robin tries to heal and piece together the details of that terrible night. Racing to remember everything in the hopes of saving Emily, Robin writes a series of notes to herself to discover the truth.

  • Number of Pages: 158 (estimated)


This seemed like a huge heartfelt novel the moment I read the summary. I pictured a book where the heroine goes through something and grows from the experience. That is exactly how I can sum it up. Robin isn’t really a heroine, just a regular girl who did something stupid with her best friend and is living with the consequences. This is a coming of age book, where real feelings come to light and how the character deals with these emotions. Once Robin wakes up, she is once again confronted with her usual problems with friends, family, popularity, etc. The difference is that this time she starts to see it from a different perspective. She sees it with new eyes.

It was great seeing how her memories took me back with her, and then brought me back to the present with how she now feels about that moment in time. It was very sincere and genuine. From 1-10? I give it a strong 6.