Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (9)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews 

Lots of classics this week, hooray!  Starting probably in November I will be reviewing one classic each month.  I think it's super important for readers to have a foundation in great literature, so I really want to incorporate it on the site.  Let me know what you think!


1984 Little Women Don Quixote
Madame Bovary The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: The Son of Rage and Love by Thomas Raymond

The Son of Rage and LoveAuthor: Thomas Raymond
Genre: contemporary
Published: May 21st, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

"12 Year-old Daniel used to run, jump, and climb on everything in sight. He played, laughed, made all kinds of noise, took things apart, and built new stuff from the pieces. Unfortunately for him, such acts of nonconformity can make inconvenient ripples on the smooth surface of wealthy suburban bliss. Years ago, Daniel was judged to have ADHD, and soon, "Pills fixed all that. They quiet most of my imagination, and the video swallows up whatever’s left." 
Nowadays, Daniel just wants a little adventure, a bit of unscripted life to clear up the fog of his mundane existence. Every aspect of his life is under strict control of a narcissistic Grandmother, and the minions she hires to run the house. Disillusioned with the "remoras" who worship his mother's money and fame, and certain his older sister is becoming one of them, Daniel has all but given up hope. "I've learned not to fuss . . . A fuss is a big mistake. . . . At least I am smart enough to just take the pill and wait for the fog to roll in." But years of heavy medication coupled with long escapes into video games have turned his world to grey, blurring his perception of reality versus fantasy.
When Daniel's mother adopts a 13 year-old, free-spirited orphan, the two boys become immediate friends and allies. The absolute authority of Grandmother is finally challenged. The ensuing struggle at once gives Daniel hope, but also threatens his sanity.
The Son of Rage and Love is the intense, at times disturbing story of one boy's quest to reclaim his own mind. In a place and time where the appearance of the perfect life is more important than freedom itself, where strong will and disruptive ideas are quickly medicated into quiet indifference, Daniel and his new brother try against the odds to sever the strings for good." ~Goodreads
There are things about being a kid that just suck.  Chief among these is the fact that your entire life is controlled by adults.  If you're lucky the adults in your life are reasonable, caring, responsible human beings.  However, when these people are nut-jobs life gets even more difficult.  This is Daniels life.  He has everything most kids dream about.  Lots of toys, huge birthday parties and all the video games he can play.  But with a controlling grandmother and an absentee starlet mom Daniel has some pretty huge issues.  Thomas Raymond writes a compelling story from Daniel's point of view and really makes his reader think about what is important in life.

  • Daniel:  Our main character is an all-together likable kid.  He's caring and adventurous, but he's also a completely sympathetic character.  The reader really feels for Daniel throughout the book and becomes very much attached to him.  
  • Jean-Maurice:  This kid made the book for me.  Jean-Maurice is Daniel's new brother.  A refugee, from Haiti, he has seen a lot of suffering at a very young age.  However, rather than being bitter or hard, he is bursting with life and love.  His infectious spirit is exactly what I love about young adult characters.  He puts the whole story into perspective and provides some much needed laughs along the way.
  • Grandma was an excellent villain:  Don't get me wrong, I despised this woman, but she is an incredible villain.  She is calculating, cruel and totally unfeeling.  This story could have been about spoiled rich kids, but adding in a grandmother like this gave the story more depth and the kids a better reason to complain.  She is absolutely hate-able, and that's the way I like it!


  • Janey:  Try as I might, I just couldn't feel for this character.  She is so stuck-up and rude.  I just didn't feel sorry for her at all.  I didn't really even see her place in the story except to give Daniel a sibling.  There was a plot-point toward the end where she was important but other than that she just seemed to be there to be rude and obnoxious.
  • Maya:  As with Janey, I couldn't get to know or like Maya.  She just sort of seemed like an airhead to me.  I would have liked to have seen a little more depth to her character.
  • Daniel seemed a little too grown-up sometimes:  As much as I liked Daniel, he sometimes seemed a little too old for his age.  Every once in awhile he would start to philosophize about how society brainwashes kids with video games, medication and processed food and it just didn't always feel authentic.

Overall, I really liked this story.  The characters drew me in from the beginning and the story felt relate-able.  It is a fast-paced read with a lot of heart and plenty of quirk.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews

For Review:

Big thanks to Amulet!


Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)        Vixen (Flappers, #1)

Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7)

Wow huge thanks to Milly, Liz, Becky and Random Buzzers


Beauty Queens

Gigantic thanks to Miranda: The Mind-reading book blogger


City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)   Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1)   Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blog Tour: Careful. by Isobella Jade Review

Careful_IsobellaJade.jpg  Author: Isobella Jade
Genre: contemporary
Pages: 292
Published: July 26th, 2012
Publisher: Gamine Press
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
"If you lived in Willow Ridge, a town based on Jade’s hometown called Liverpool in Central New York, you’d know of Estella Montclair. Estella is one of the top high school sprinters around and she’s in the newspaper all the time.
After Estella Montclair is killed in a texting and driving crash, what remains of her face and body is devastating.
But not all of her has died.
During the first month after her death, Estella’s spirit travels among her living friends and family. Her best friends Zara, Eva and Jett show her how pain and sorrow can break apart or strengthen a bond. She also sees for the first time that loss can spark revenge, catastrophe can come without warning, and we all have secrets. She wonders if her chance for love with Phoenix has passed her by, and if out of sight truly means out of mind.
And maybe one day the girl who caused her death will admit her mistake.
While adjusting to a new state of being, Estella struggles to face the limitations that come with death, but blossoms by recognizing she can still touch the lives of the people she once knew so well.
Alright, I'll admit it, I have definitely been guilty of distracted driving.  No, I don't text and drive, but I do things like mess with the radio, rummage through CDs and gawk at people walking their dogs.  Like most of us who have been driving for awhile, I've had some near misses with other people's bumpers.  I'm usually a great driver but it's those little mistakes and distractions that can change someone's life forever, or end it.  One of the biggest distractions for young people (really all people) these days is texting while driving.  It may only take a few seconds to check that message but those few seconds can mean everything.  

Estella's life is pretty great.  She has awesome friends, colleges are lining up to recruit her and she's going to prom with super-cute Phoenix.  All of that changes when her teammate Heidi blows through a red light while texting and kills her.  Estella's body may be gone but her spirit stays behind.  We follow Estella as she witnesses the devastation left behind after her death.  


  • The Message: I know we all get tired of hearing it.  There are commercials, print ads, even Oprah has a campaign against texting and driving.   But the message is so important that we have to pay attention and the more it's drummed into our heads the better.  Every time I get into a car in front of my mom she still tells me to "be careful", I'm sure she always will, and even though I roll my eyes and assure her that I'm perfectly capable of operating a motor vehicle, it still makes me think about safety in that moment and I do pay closer attention.  So yes, Mom, I'm listening.  This book really makes you think about how your choices impact others, especially when you're driving a motorized killing machine.
  • The Empathy Factor: We get to know Estella's family and friends through their grief.  This makes the book all the more powerful and it really helps the reader to understand and empathize with the characters.  This also helps the author illustrate her point very nicely.
  • POV: Just as we get to know the secondary characters in their grief, we get to know Estella in death, rather than life.  Watching Estella come to grips with her feelings of anger and loss is incredibly gripping and certainly makes the story more interesting and poignant.  

  • Repetition: The story itself can get a bit repetitive in parts and I feel like the book didn't need to be as long as it is to get the point across.
  • Dialogue: Some of the dialogue (particularly with the parents right after Estella's death) is a bit stilted and lackluster.  This certainly isn't true for the entire book, but it does distract in places.  

This book's message is so important that I think every new driver should read it.  When we go about our lives we don't think about how the smallest things can have such a huge impact.  Even with a few flaws this book has a powerful message that cannot be overstated.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Every DayAuthor: David Levithan
Genre: contemporary, fantasy
Pages: 336
Published: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day."~Goodreads

This is one of those books that stays with you.   I didn't love everything about it, in fact there were things that really bothered me, but in the end I had to give it four stars if only because it was able to elicit so many diverse emotions.  "A" is a flawed being.  He is lost and self-centered and he has never truly felt love.  This feeling of neglect and loneliness is carried throughout the book and the reader really gets to feel what it must be like to live in a world where no one knows you exist.  One of the biggest problems I had with this book is "A's" selfishness.  He claims to love Rhiannon but he has no problem with her living a strange and painful life, so that he can live vicariously through him.  He wants her to leave her controlling boyfriend only so she can live in a new type of prison dictated by the strange rules of "A's" life.  "A" is also pretty judgemental and is quick to point out what he perceives to be flaws in others.  He seems to forget that not everyone has lived the type of life that he has, but expects them to be as comfortable with it as he is.

Even though "A" isn't always the most likeable character, the reader does come to feel for him and his situation.  This book is a study in intense character development.  Both Rhiannon and "A" are laid completely bare for the reader and once you get to know them, you love them.  There were so many moments where the story completely surprised me as it moved along at an incredible pace.  From the lightening-quick beginning to the perfect ending, Every Day is an incredible and exhilarating read.  This book is written so beautifully and with such care that I am sure I will be thinking about it for a long, long time.  The world that Levithan creates is both relate-able and fantastic and it is so easy to get sucked into his universe. I loved Every Day and would recommend it to both lovers of contemporary and fantasy.  This is not your average YA romance!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews


Broken The Secret Keeper
Big thanks to Strange Chemistry and Atria Books!


Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, #1) Masquerade (Blue Bloods, #2) Revelations (Blue Bloods, #3)
Going Bovine I Capture the Castle Madly (Madly, #1)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

ButterAuthor: Erin Jade Lange
Genre: contemporary
Pages: 316
Published: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?"~Goodreads
 I have to be honest and say that the whole concept for this book was so dark that I really put off reading it for the longest time.  The idea of a kid eating himself to death in front of all of his classmates is incredibly disturbing.  That's why I was surprised by how quickly I was drawn into the story and how much this book really affected me.  Butter made me every type of imaginable emotion.  It is funny, infuriating, and deeply sad.  Butter is 100% worth your time.


Butter's Character Development: Lange's writing is so easy to get sucked into.  It is really hard to believe that this book wasn't written by a morbidly obese teenage boy.  Butter's voice is so well-crafted that the reader really cares about him.  He isn't just the fat kid who gets teased and is sad about it.  He is an incredibly complex character who is desperately trying to find a way to matter to his peers.  His internal struggles with self-esteem, depression, love and suicide are expertly written so that the reader understands exactly what he must be going through.  There is real love put into this character.

The issue at hand:  This book deals with suicide, among other things, and this can be a difficult subject to tackle.  Lange does a wonderful job.  It would have been easy enough to write a book about a loner teen, who decides to kill himself, but Lange adds much more depth to the story.  Butter gains acceptance from his peers after announcing his plans and still struggles with his demons.  This book is about more than a suicidal teenager.  It is about all of the turmoil that someone who has made this decision goes through, it is about the finality of that decision and it is about finding a reason to live.

Not an easy, feel-good read:  Butter is not a book to pick up when you want to smile.  In fact, there were parts of this story that I didn't think I could get through.  However, I think that the emotional challenges this book presents are what make it an important story.  


The kids at Butter's school: I hated these kids.  Don't get me wrong, they were well-written and the development was great, but they were awful.  I couldn't imagine that an entire school would want to show up for a viewing party to watch a classmate kill himself.  The extent of the nastiness of these kids made them somewhat unbelievable.  I would have liked it if there were some that were a bit more level-headed or just showed some common human decency.

When all is said and done, I am really glad I decided to read Butter.  I think it is one of those books that changes the way you think about and look at other people and those are the most important kinds of stories.  I would recommend this if you are looking for a thought-provoking (and sometimes anger-provoking) read.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (6) Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper that lets bloggers gush about books that have been sitting on their WLs for awhile.

My pick this week is:
Beauty Queens

Okay, let's be honest.  Just the fact that Libba Bray wrote this mixed with its cover makes me want this book, but as it turns out, it's actually supposed to be pretty funny.  A bunch of beauty queens stranded on an island? Yes!  

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where bloggers highlight upcoming releases we are drooling over.

My pick this week is:

Josie Griffin is Not a Vampire

This just looks like one of those books that is going to be a lot of fun.  It is pitched as Twilight meets The Breakfast Club.  That sounds just fine to me.  Josie Griffin Is Not a Vampire  comes out September 13th!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (6)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews


Ophelia Mary, Bloody Mary (Young Royals, #1) Beware, Princess Elizabeth (Young Royals, #2) Deadly Little Secret (Touch, #1)
Revolution The Académie Gone (Gone, #1) Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)
Dark CompanionThrough Her Eyes 

Make sure you link up over at stacking the shelves and let me know what you got!