Saturday, March 24, 2012

Every Other Day

Every Other Day
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
December 2011
Reading Level: YA

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

I've heard nothing but good things about Jennifer Lynn Barnes' books, and so when I picked up Every Other Day I was beyond excited to read it.

I was a little put off by the idea behind it, to tell you the truth. The book is targeted toward Buffy fans, and since I'm kind of indifferent to Buffy I wasn't sure what to expect. I also wasn't totally drawn in by the description on the back cover.

Nevertheless, I took the leap and gave it a try. Fortunately, I found the book to be very enjoyable. My only minor problem is that it seemed really, really far-fetched. I understand that that's the point with supernatural books like this, but with this book it just seemed a little bit contrived. This alternate world that Barnes was creating just didn't feel effortless to me.

Other than that, I was completely drawn into the story. I loved Kali's character. She's strong, independent, and yet she feels completely alone. Up until this point in her life, she's been happy with being alone, but now that she's been given a good dose of friendship she realizes just how lonely she really is. Her emotional and physical journeys throughout the book are both believable and give the reader a true sense of understanding and compassion for her.

I also loved the eccentricity of Skylar, one of Kali's new friends. Bethany showed some, but not a lot, of the same sort of depth of character that Kali showed, and I think without their depth the story would have lost a lot of its power and meaning. As it is, the characters and their struggles really brought the story together.

The conclusion of the story was satisfying and unsatisfying all at once. I can see where the story could end here, because Kali's life has sort of fallen into place, but I can also see where the story could easily be built upon into a series. That being said, Every Other Day is meant to be a standalone, and so readers may have to use their imagination for some aspects that may not have been tied up as neatly as they could have been.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Water for Elephants [movie review]

Water for Elephants
Starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon
Fox 2011

Based on Sara Gruen's novel, Water for Elephants is a movie that tries to recapture the magic from the novel and transform it into something that can be witnessed through film.

I am happy to say that the movie was a success. I am not somebody who is extremely picky about things staying true to the book, because I know that the things that make a good book are not always the things that make a good movie, but this movie was able to retain all the important aspects of the book and still make a decent movie. It was hard not to be nit-picky when I had just finished reading the book, but in reality there is very little to nit-pick at. The movie was very well done, and I must say that Robert Pattinson makes a much better vet than he does a vampire.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Girlfriend Material

Girlfriend Material
Melissa Kantor
May 2009
Reading Level: YA

If Kate were Lady Brett Ashley, the devastating heroine of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, she'd spend her summers careering around the Riviera in her coupe, breaking hearts by the dozen—because why not? In reality, Kate's never even had a boyfriend, and she'll be spending the summer abetting her mom's lame ploy to make her dad jealous: running off to Cape Cod and crashing at the seaside home of her wealthy friends, the Cooper-Melnicks. To add to the shame, the Cooper-Melnicks' gorgeous daughter Sarah is a bit like Lady Brett, and she seems less than thrilled to hang out with her new houseguest. Any dreams Kate once had of a perfect summer are ruined.

That is, until Sarah's cute, witty friend Adam starts drawing Kate into the fold—and seems intrigued. With Adam around, Kate feels like she just might have a bit of heartbreaker potential after all. But when a breezy summer romance quickly grows more complicated can Kate keep pretending her relationship with Adam is just a carefree fling? Or will she take the risk and tell him her real feelings? Suddenly Kate is asking herself a question she never thought she'd stoop to: Is she girlfriend material?

There are a few simple words to describe this book: cute, fun, quick, enjoyable, and summer-y. All of these apply, and so if you're looking for something that qualifies for any or all of these adjectives, then I would definitely recommend Girlfriend Material.

The book is incredibly short and easy to get through, and there's not a whole lot going on as far as intense reading. That's why it's so hard to write this review, because there's nothing to really analyze. It was just a lot of fun to read. I liked Kate, I liked Adam, I liked the story and the way that Kate's relationships with those around her got solved and worked through, and I thought it was really cute and romantic. If you've read any of Melissa Kantor's books and liked them, I'd definitely recommend this book. And even if you haven't, it's the perfect beach read.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Water for Elephants [book review]

Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
May 2006
Reading Level: Adult

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.
I had heard from a number of good friends how amazing this book was, and I know it's extremely popular with the movie, so I borrowed it from a friend and read it.

I didn't find the book to be quite as magnificent as I was hoping. This is probably due to the extreme hype around it, though. There were a number of things that I really enjoyed about it. I loved the switching points of view between old Jacob and young Jacob. That definitely added something magical to the story. I also loved the idea of the circus; it's not something you come across too often, and so it sparked my interest and kept me entertained throughout the novel.

Others might find it to be magical, but I was not completely awestruck. However, the unique plot and likeable characters kept me involved and interested from beginning to end. This was not really what I was expecting, but it was still good enough not to be too big of a disappointment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do popular reviews influence a person's opinion of a book?

I've decided to put a poll up on my blog (see the top left sidebar) to answer a question I've been wondering about for some time.

Does reading popular reviews influence your overall opinion of a book?

This question has been in my mind for years, in fact. This is because I read raving reviews about a book that I won't mention, and then when I picked it up and started reading I felt like it wasn't very good. Ever since then, I've wondered if maybe my expectations were too high, and that's why I was disappointed. I wonder if I were to pick it up again and read it again with a fresh mind, if maybe I would think differently and enjoy it more.

So the purpose of that poll is to see if anybody else experiences the same thing when they've heard awesome reviews, or even negative reviews for that matter. So please answer the poll and if you have any thoughts feel free to comment on this post, because I would love to hear what everyone thinks!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Covers

Go check out Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Favorite Covers
The dresses! Ahhh!
Love the colors
Love it so much I got a tattoo!
Old version- true to book.
love the tears!

Simple is good.

Nothing like an eye cover.
Also true to the book.
very pretty.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)

Maggie Stiefvater
July 2011
Reading Level: YA

In Stiefvater's "Shiver," Grace and Sam found each other. In "Linger," they fought to be together. Now, in "Forever," the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

The Wolves of Mercy Falls books are some that just get better and better. The first one was good, the second one left me dying for more, and this final installment is an incredibly satisfying conclusion.

Forever contained everything you would hope for to conclude this wonderful trilogy. The romance that readers have come to love is back full force, and it's wonderful to see Sam and Grace transcend even more boundaries that threaten to keep them apart. The individual character building of Cole and Isabel is once again prioritized with them as narrators, and it was fulfilling to see how their lives unfold and intertwine with each others.

Basically, this book has everything. Romance, teen angst (and I mean that in the best way possible; not the Twilight-y kind of angst), hopeless situations that have to be overcome somehow, and a whole lot of action. The writing was also incredible. Maggie Stiefvater has such a poetic way of writing, and I feel like it has grown and developed a lot since Shiver, and so this book was truly a pleasure to read and I definitely look forward to reading more from her.

You definitely will not want to miss this finale to the Shiver trilogy. You will not be disappointed.
Also in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy...