Sunday, December 30, 2012

"The Outsiders" - Book Review

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
My Review:
One day I decided to go to my local library to see if they had any good books. It's pretty small and has the lowest funding in probably the entire state so my library tends to not have very many new books if any. That day The Outsiders was sitting on the shelf all alone and I snatched it up immediately. In middle school one of my literature teachers recommended that my class read The Outsiders over summer break stating it as her favorite book of all time. Other teachers I'd had didn't much care for the book and wouldn't let us read it as part of the curriculum, some stating that it was inappropriate for us to read.
That day at the library when I brought the book up to the front counter the librarian saw the cover and smiled at me, "Now that's a real good book," she said. Now that I've read it, I say that she was absolutely right.
The Outsiders was about gangs, two different social classes clashing, feeling lost as a teenager, friends, loyalty, love, hardship, and being an outsider. S. E. Hinton did such a phenomenal job setting the perspective of the 'greaser' boys' perspective, you'd have to think that she had to have been writing about her own life. I'm still in shock at the fact that she wrote this at the ripe age of 16 creating an instant American classic. She captured emotion so vividly, and portrayed the struggles of kids growing up on the streets and getting caught up in gangs to feel a sense of belonging and family. The love between the three brothers in this book was beautiful, they fought a lot and struggled to remain strong in the wake of their parents' deaths but try hard to stick together.
I feel like I can't do this book justice with any fancy words I could think of to describe  just how much I like this book. Truly, I wish that I had read this book back in middle school though looking back I may not have understood the book's significance quite as well back then as I do today. It  is no wonder how this book became an instant classic, it touched my heart and had me mourning with the losses that Ponyboy had to go through. Sodapop, Darry, and Johnny were my favorite characters of the lot, but even then I still love the rest of the gang including hot-headed angry Dally.
Apparently this book was also made into a movie which I'm super stoked about and want to watch ASAP, and not just because Tom Cruise and Emilio Esteves are in it. If you haven't read The Outsiders, trust me you've been missing out on a really good book. Five stars, hands down.

Friday, December 28, 2012

"Blindsided" - Book Review

In many ways, Natalie O’Reilly is a typical fourteen-year-old girl. But a routine visit to the eye doctor produces devastating news: Natalie will lose her sight within a few short months.

Suddenly her world is turned upside down. Natalie is sent to a school for the blind to learn skills such as Braille and how to use a cane. Outwardly, she does as she’s told; inwardly, she hopes for a miracle that will free her from a dreaded life of blindness.

But the miracle does not come, and Natalie ultimately must confront every blind person’s dilemma. Will she go home to live scared? Or will she embrace the skills she needs to make it in a world without sight?

My Review:
This book was very different than other books that I've read. For one, it's about a girl who loses her sight and now that I think about it I think it's really weird I haven't read a book about someone with a disability. Ever since I was little I've always thought about the perspectives of other people and wondered what it felt like to not have one of your senses.
Blindsided opened my eyes to so many things about the perspective of being blind that I had never even considered before. Aside from the obvious side effects of losing your sight; not being able to see color anymore, not being able to see other people's expressions, or not being able to see if it's dark or light out. But then there were things that had never occurred to me before like how people unable to see have trouble dealing with money here in the States because we're one of the only countries with discriminatory currency unlike other countries that have bills with braille or textured foil. Having to create a system to tell what color each article of clothing is so that they can match, even though they can't see them, but because of how society can be, and to avoid being made fun of. Blindsided was such an enlightening and inspiring book that opened my eyes to a lot of things and empowered me to want to be a stronger person like Natalie.
Cummings did an amazing job taking us along Natalie's journey from having her sight to losing it by the way she wrote. In the beginning we could see the things Natalie saw but as time progressed and her glaucoma got worse we started to see less and less of the surroundings and Cumming's focused more on imagery using the other senses. She began to mainly describe what was going on with sounds, smells, touch, and taste as Natalie started to transition to being completely blind. It was such an interesting and new way of looking at things, and I have greater and stronger respect for people who are born blind or lose their sight and start from scratch.

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Graffiti moon" - Book Review

"Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers."

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.

His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.

Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.

But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

My Review:

Amazing. Heart-warming. Beautiful. Poetic. Artistic. Wonderfully written. Gorgeously written. Sensational. Lovely. Original. Unique. Awesome. Those are just some of the words that I would use to describe this book. I know throughout the year I've said that some of the books I reviewed were instantly a favorite but this book became a favorite before I even read it. When I first heard of this book I squealed in excitement like a little girl because the synopsis of the book was the description of my dream fairytale love story.
I'm an artist and this book is filled with art; not only visual but literal poetry as well. Cath is by far one of the most eloquent and poetic writers I've ever read a book by. From the very first page I was in awe, this isn't a spoiler don't worry but the quote "The heart, a fist-sized forest in your chest." really spoke to me and I thought it was really beautiful. Throughout the book graffiti paintings by the mysterious Shadow are described in detail it's as if you're looking at the artworks yourself.
Graffiti moon is such a beautiful love story with coming-of-age themes, deception, betrayal, being an outsider, having a passion for art, and being immersed into the real world of college and opportunities. The characters were so wonderfully crafted and none of them were plain Janes or Susie Q's or Slim Jims, they were filled with flaws (not over the top though) and they were very real.
I have always been drawn to books that take place only over the course of one day or even one night and this book is no exception. I loved how the entire adventure took place in less than 12 hours, it makes you think about how so much could happen in so little time and how your life can be changed forevermore in less than an instant.
I think this book has something to teach everyone, that life can be screwed up but still good, that we're all a little messed up and have flaws, and that we never really know what we want until it's standing right in front of us.


"Wake" - Book Review

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

My Review:

Ever since I first read Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy I was hooked to her writing. She has an amazing gift for storytelling and I was stoked when I heard that she was coming out with a new book series. Wake was way better than I had expected by a long shot. In all honesty I had been a little scared that this book series might not be as great in comparison to the Trylle trilogy but Amanda delivered another great adventure from the inner-workings of her awesome mind.
The characters in Wake were unbelievably real and believable, sometimes while reading the book I felt myself wanting to stick up for the characters like they were old friends. Just like in the Trylle trilogy there was a lot of Amanda's witty humor and pop culture references that made the book all the more awesome-sauce. The plot of the book was so intricate and well thought out it had me turning pages all night long and sneaking in some reading time every chance I got during my busy college schedule.
Amanda took the concept of sirens, man-eating mermaid type chicks, and gave it a unique twist. With hunky guys, mythical monsters, mystery, romance, adventure, chilling discoveries, and beautifully described nature I fell in love with this book from the start. At times I could taste the saltiness of the air and felt like I was really there with the characters trying to figure out the mystery.
I could really relate to Harper, the older sister to the main character, because for a while I had to take care of my younger sisters by myself and it was difficult to try and be their older sister while being in charge 24/7.
I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the Watersong series! As if you guys couldn't tell already I completely recommend this book to pretty much anyone, it's got something in it for everyone to enjoy. :)


"Paper Towns" - Book Review

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

My review:

For the longest time I had wanted to read a book by John Green, not only because of the great reviews I've read by other people of different books by him but because of John Green himself. A while ago I started watching Youtube videos by the Vlogbrothers (A.K.A. John and Hank Green) and I adored their witty, geeky humor and felt the need to try to read one of John Green's books because I liked his personality.
To be honest I wasn't let down in the least bit. I loved Paper Towns, it was filled with equal parts humor, mystery, and beautiful writing. The plot was absolutely brilliant, I was constantly making theories about how I thought the mystery was going to be solved or what meanings I interpreted from Margo Roth Speigielman's clues left for Quentin Jacobsen. Though some of the main characters in the gang were more admirable than others I still found myself liking the relationship between them all.
I could really relate to Quentin on different levels; not really liking high school, being in the middle  of nowhere of the social caste system of high school, and having a huge crush on someone you hardly know that everyone considers way out of your league.
Paper Towns was a literary adventure and definitely a page-turner that kept me up all night long, trying to sneak in some reading during class-breaks, and whenever I got the chance.

If this book taught me anything at all, it was about the way I perceive people. Whether it's a celebrity crush, or someone you've heard countless rumors about and seem to think you know them through and through yet have never even spoken a word to them, or a crush you may have on someone at school, at the end of the day they are a person. I used to have a problem with my imagination running away and twisting and contorting the way I perceived people; mainly my crushes and turning them into something almost superhuman much like Quentin did in Paper Towns. John Green teaches that though Margo is awesome and seemed as some kind of amazing she still is a girl, and that really opened my eyes to some things. I actually had a crush on a guy at school that I hardly even knew and I was terrified to even approach him and say hi but this book helped me realize he's human and chances are he won't eat me if I tried to talk to him.

"What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person."
-John Green, Paper Towns

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight" - Book Review

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

My Review:

Last week I was strolling through my local library's Young Adult section trying to find a good book to read. College has been overly stressful and I needed to find a great book to escape during class breaks and in between several hours of homework. As soon as I saw the title on the spine I wanted to jump up and down and squeal until I remembered that I was, in fact, in a library.

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight was a really great book. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face because the story just has that affect on me. There are all kinds of books out there about love, fate, soul mates, and other variables of true love, but never have I read a book about the statistical probability of love at first sight. I've always been a skeptic of the whole love at first sight concept, but surprisingly enough my parents' love story began that way.

Jennifer did a wonderful job balancing the story's plot line with memories and flashbacks to create a wonderfully told love story. The humor was incredibly witty and had me smiling like a fool while reading it in my school's courtyard. Oliver was really charming, and an instantly lovable character, how could anyone hate him? It reminded me of a 'chic flick' movie at times but the story was unique and new. The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight was told from a time period of only one day, which I think is really cool, because not every author can write a story that takes place over the course of a single day without dragging on and growing boring. Props to Jennifer.

The moment I read the words THE END I closed the book and said "That was a really good book." Very few books have had that effect on me in my life. One thing's for sure, as soon as you finish reading this you're going to want to hop on a plane to Britain.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Witch & Wizard" - Book Review

The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they'd never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents--and maybe the world?

My Review:

I really liked this book, it had a unique story and the characters were very relate-able. With pop culture references and lots of attitude and spunk there was a lot of humor to spare. It was really light-hearted and definitely a timeless book than anyone of any age could enjoy. It was filled with magic, adventure, suspense, family, love, and friendship. As a kid and even as a young adult today I can say that wizards have always been a huge part of my life, from reading books about them, watching wizard movies and shows, and playing wizard pretend games with other kids my age.Witch and Wizard has a world created within it where people that do magic are persecuted much like what happened during the Salem Witch Trials.
This definitely is a book series I wouldn't mind continuing to read whenever I get the chance on a rainy day.
The day that I picked Witch and Wizard up I also got the comic version of the story. Ever since I was a little girl I always loved comic books and I'm always looking for certain things whenever I read one to determine whether or not I consider it good. The style of the comic was manga/anime (Japanese animation) and the artist did a wonderful job conveying the story through their style. What really surprised me while reading the comic was that everything was drawn out the way I had pictured the story in my mind (architecture, angles, design, etc). If you're a fan of comics/graphic novels and have read Wand W I completely recommend you check out the comic of the story.


Sorry for disappearing again

Hey everyone!

It's been so long I feel so guilty for not posting reviews and updates. I'm really, really, really, really, really sorry. School this semester was a killer and I was constantly being slammed with work, projects, and tons of tests to study for. But the semester is officially over!


Having only been on break for about a week I have been super busy writing my novel, it's almost done! I'm really excited because I have never written this much of any of the novels I've started in my life. I'll definitely be keeping you guys updated with anything new going on with my novels.

However, even though I was gone I have been reading every chance I get, so there will definitely be a lot of book reviews coming your way within the next to week to wrap up the year. How have you guys been?

I hope you all are safe, warm, and surrounded by those you love this holiday season. Take care!



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