31 January, 2012 | By: Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn's Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Pages: 318
Published: 2012

Summary: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

It’s hard to imagine that some YA novel could sweep you off of your feet, especially when you approach a book with notions that I’ve already had.
John Green is a famous man; not only for his books, but for  all of Nerdfighteria, and ending world suck. I have read all of his preceding books, and while I loved each one individually, there is something about John Green I always ponder: Can he write something different? Everything he writes, he knows of. Situationally, at least. In his first four books, the main characters were scary similar (and in two of them, the love interests were as well). I was very, very wary when first approaching The Fault in Our Stars, because it was his first time writing from a girl’s perspective and he stated how hard and difficult it was.
When I first started TFIOS, I was hesitant. I didn’t like it at first. It was like stepping into a cold pool, one step at a time. I just wanted to get through it because oh goodness it was going to be the same and that’s not how girls think all the time, John Green!
But I was so wrong.
I cannot name a point in the novel, but at some point, there was a shift. There was a shift and I realised all the wonderful things I adore about John Green.
I love his metaphors. His ability to take situations or words or anything and give you a new perspective on them. And throughout this novel? That’s all that he did. Along with an original plot, there was so much symbolism. There were so many higher level metaphors, that are sure, spelt out for the reader, but that doesn’t make them any less brilliant. It doesn’t make the reader think less.
I really don’t know where to begin. I guess I’ll begin with the quality of the plot. It was unique. And, the reader is set up for something, but there is a huge, huge, huge twist. It’s like everything hits the reader at once. There were parts in the book when I was cursing this one character, wishing that they had never even bothered and that there was absolutely no one worse than them ever in the history of all things. And then there were parts when I was crying, sobbing really, because I just felt so many things and John Green has a magical way with words. It’s like a fantastical idea that hits you in such a real way you don’t even know what to think except it evoked so many emotions inside of you.
I can’t even properly say how much I liked this book. It’s just. It’s genius. Maybe the setting is what John Green knows and so are the characters, but hey, that doesn’t make it not brilliant. He writes amazingly.
The Fault in Our Stars is one of the rare, RARE books I would not mind rereading immediately. I feel like I have to, actually. There is only one other book that has ever made me feel that way…and well, that review is (hopefully!) coming soon.
TFIOS deserves every single star it’s getting. This star won’t go out. 

Rating:  ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars
30 January, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Tainted Blood

Tainted Blood (Tainted, #1)

Title: Tainted Blood
Author: Sam C. Leonhard
Series: Tainted
Pages: 296
Published: 2010

Summary: Gabriel Jordan lives a lonely life on the streets, taking the rare job that usually means spending hours in the cold, waiting for a chance to take a photograph of a cheating spouse. That’s how he meets Dr. Aleksei Tennant—who he sees suspiciously jumping from a window of a woman’s apartment. Tennant introduces Gabriel to the hidden worlds, magical worlds connected to this one by portals. Gabriel is eager to learn the runes for opening them, Tennant is eager to teach, and a fragile friendship develops amidst a series of murders.

These aren’t just any murders. The killer has a grudge against the mixture of other races: he doesn't kill humans, only those of the hidden worlds who are producing children of tainted blood. When the killer attacks them directly, Gabriel and Tennant have to team up to find the murderer, even though they’re putting themselves, their love, and any chance at a future together, in danger.

Review: Before I say anything, I would like to thank Ariel from Dreamspinner Press for providing me with a copy of Tainted Blood when I foolishly requested the second novel without realising that it was part of a series.

Tainted Blood has caused me to nitpick a little bit with my rating, earning it a whole 3.75 stars, something that one would never see unless they were attempting to average a bunch of reviews. The novel was something that I really enjoyed reading, but it didn't quite earn four stars because of some of the less-wonderful points in the novel which mainly revolved around moments where Gabriel whined about the fact that he loved Dr. Tennant and the man would never feel the same way.

While stereotypes were called on when it came to this novel, Tainted Blood was a refreshing read and I really did enjoy it. The feistiness of Gabriel's personality and the way that Tennant was so intrigued by Gabriel and his magical wonders was surprisingly refreshing.

I really did enjoy the fact that not only did Gabriel find his way out of his homelessness and his crappy job of having to take pictures of people doing things like cheating on their spouses for his creepy boss, but he found someone that he fell in love with. The entire time I was rooting for Gabriel, waiting for him to find love in Tennant and the man to love him back. I honestly just wanted them to kiss.

But they definitely did much more than that. SPOILER: [This was my least favourite part of the book, and it has nothing to do with the overdose on sex in the one chapter of Tainted Blood. Fuck or Die options are something that I have never been a fan of in any style of writing and I personally find them to be something annoying, so I was highly disappointed to find that that was exactly what had to happen in Tainted Blood.] It was an intense read for someone who hadn't expected it to go from nothing to everything, but I won't lie and say that I didn't enjoy it. I just think it could have been toned down a little.

The end of the book was kind of awesome, and I expected it to take a different path, but was rather pleased that it didn't. I'm so used to what I predict in a novel coming true but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't the case and the ending made me appreciate the book a lot more that I had the knowledge that the author chose a different route from the typical.

I really did semi-love Tainted Blood and I would definitely read it again. Right now I'm reading the sequel and I can't wait to see what comes out of it!

Rating: ★★★★ 3.75 Stars

Review: Enchantment


Title: Enchantment
Author: Charlotte Abel
Pages: 373
Published: 2011

Summary: When Channie falls in love with Josh Abrim, a BMX racer with dangerous secrets of his own, she rebels against her parents and turns to dark and forbidden magic to break the chastity spell ... with disastrous results.

Review: In my honest opinion, this book doesn't even deserve the one star that it has received, but there is no lower rating on goodreads so one star it shall be. The narration was horrible, first off, and I hate to say this but this was a book that really, really needed to be in first person and was not.

The narrative, also, was written in southern twang, or at least it was attempted. It did get a little bit better once moving past the first chapter but when something is written in third person and is also written in southern twang and refers to characters in the way that one would refer to them if the novel were written in first person clearly proves that the author didn't know what she was doing when she was writing this.

I hate bashing authors and novels, because I know just how long it takes to get these words down into a story and how much editing and writing and revising goes into it, but in my honest opinion, this is a book that should have stayed on the laptop or typewriter or paper, depending on whatever it was that was being used to write this. I couldn't finish Enchantment or even come close. The novel was poorly written and was constructed with an unbelievable plot line, and unbelievable plot lines can be worked with when reasonably explained, but this novel didn't even have that.

I was sorely disappointed with this novel, which is saying something seeing as it was a novel that I requested to read because the plot sounded interesting and it has such good reviews. I just honestly cannot comprehend that I managed to get as far in the book that I did, and I don't believe that this will be a book that I will ever be picking up again, even to give it a second chance. It has scarred me for life.

Rating: ★ 1/5 Stars (Being Generous)

Review: Meeting Destiny

Meeting Destiny (Destiny #1)

Title: Meeting Destiny
Author: Nancy Straight
Series: Destiny
Pages: Unknown
Published: 2010

Summary: Lauren is visited in her dreams for years by a stranger claiming to be her destiny. Destiny becomes reality when paths cross during a failed robbery attempt. Lauren and the stranger experience chemistry like no other and now her doubt over her long time relationship with her high school sweetheart is not her only secret…someone else knows about her keen intuition and sixth sense.A mysterious clairvoyant seeks Lauren out and tells her not only of her life now but what the future may hold. Soon Lauren is in the middle of a murder investigation and a questionable friendship with the key suspect. Law enforcement, friends and family are concerned for Lauren but unfortunately they are unaware of the true danger…Sinister forces are at work and will stop at nothing to destroy Lauren’s abilities.

Review: I honestly want to know if everyone else was reading the same book that I was, because that was horrible. I don't even have words for how bad this was other than the fact that I could actually manage to get over halfway in reading it, and that only was because I couldn't manage to find it in me to stop before I gave it more of a chance than I had.

First off, the only thing that was good was the opening scene because I honestly wanted to know what was happening. It's not often that a book starts off with something downright intriguing like a robbery, so I was sucked in at the opening scene, but after that I wanted to kill someone.

Love at first sight is something that people believe in and others don't, so it's not that's a topic that's never been heard of before, but this book had absolutely nothing to do with love at first sight. No, this was all about destiny and the author completely and utterly failed on multiple levels to manage to keep this from being a somewhat-entertaining novel.

Lauren was the most annoying character I've ever had the displeasure to meet, and everything was irrational and frustrating in her world. Her mom and her 'boyfriend', Seth, were just so irrational when it came to everything, and don't get me started on Max.

Oh, and the fact that Lauren's 'power' allowed her to irrationally stop a robber and a 'murderer' and get a ton of money from people and showered in thanks, that was really so irrational that it's not even funny. The author could have removed the first forty percent of the book, excluding the opening scene, and you wouldn't have missed anything. That's how long it took her to barely even explain what was so special about Lauren, and even then it was impossible and irrational.

Maybe on a rainy day, when there's absolutely nothing else to do and I'm stuck with just this book I'll finish it, but there is no way that I can even attempt to finish reading this novel. It's horrid.

Rating: ★ 1/5 Stars
28 January, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 372
Published: 2010

Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

Review: This was such an adorable book and I really wish that I could just curl up inside of it and live inside of Anna's and Etienne's world. I started it with the intention of liking the book by the end but not loving it, and I think I fell in love by the end of it all. Living in Paris and experiencing an entirely new world with a group of friends that are absolutely wonderful in their own quirky ways is something that I really wish I could do, and I was glad that I got the chance to experience it through Anna's eyes.

Moving to a new place is always a hard thing, and I can't even imagine having to move to an entire new country for my last year of high school, like Anna did, but at the same time it'd be an amazing experience to move to Paris for your senior year. I could relate to Anna the entire book, even though I've never been in her exact position. Her friends were all wonderful, and each one had their own positives and negatives. I really liked the fact that they just swooped in and took care of Anna, letting her into their group so easily.

But I loved Etienne. Dear god, Etienne St. Clair. I wanted him so very badly, and not even as a relationship. I just wanted to be his friend because he really was just a magical person. I loved his personality and I just wanted to ruin his relationship with his girlfriend the entire time because I hated her and I didn't even know much about her except that she abandoned her friends when she graduated.

Out of all of the characters, Josh was my favourite. I just loved him and wanted to be his best friend, because he just seemed like such a cool guy. I did despise Toph though, and Anna's best friend from home. It didn't matter that I understood the reasons behind what they'd done and that I shouldn't hate them as much as I did. I still hate them, but kudos to Stephanie Perkins for at least giving me reasons why I shouldn't.

All in all, I really loved this novel and I loved the ending. Just the mere fact that Anna and Etienne managed to figure out a way to foil Etienne's father's plans was just wonderful. I very much enjoyed the fact that Etienne and Anna ended up going to schools where they could be together in college and maybe for the rest of their lives...that was wonderful too.

I adored this book and I adored that this was initially written as a NaNo novel, because that just proves that NaNo, while being the most ridiculous time of the year, is also a time where magic comes alive through writing and creatively breaking brains. This is definitely a book that I will read again, and I can't wait until I do.

Rating: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars


100 Followers Giveaway!

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27 January, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Authors: John Green & David Levithan
Pages: 310
Published: 2010

Summary: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Review: I have to admit that I avoided reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson because of the hype that surrounds John Green. I've really never understood why he has such a following around him, and I couldn't be bothered to figure out, but when I purchased a copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, that basically sealed the deal that I had to find out.

The book wasn't that great. It wasn't even good, really, except for the end. God bless Tiny Cooper, because he was the only good part about the novel. Everything else was just blah blah blabity blah, and that's saying something. It's not that I didn't like each Will Grayson on their own. It's just that I found them more irksome than likable, and that's putting it nicely.

Also, I wanted to kill Maura, but not as much as I wanted to kill David Levithan's writing style. I get that the emo, depressed gay kid had to have some sort of uniqueness about him, but really, was it too much of a trouble to capitalise your I's? Really? Just because he's depressed doesn't mean that he has to have everything in lowercase, because I was honestly expecting him to start narrating in text speak. It was just annoying and that was the reason that it took me so disastrously long to read this book. If I hadn't had a free day to spend curled up with it, determined to finish it, there would have been no way that I would have finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson in under a year. Well...month.

As I was saying before, God Bless Tiny Cooper. He was honestly the only good part of the book, and the whole concept of Tiny was just genius. The ending was the best part and is the only reason I could be bothered to give this book a three star review, because had it not been for Tiny and the end of the book, this might have been a one star review, or it might not have even been reviewed because the book would have been a forever unfinished novel sitting on my bookshelf, collecting dust until it ended up at Goodwill or sold to the next willing customer on Amazon.

It's not that I hated the book as much as it was just such a stereotypical annoyance of untimely doom, and that's all I have to say on the matter.

God. Bless. Tiny. Cooper.

Rating: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
25 January, 2012 | By: Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn's Review: Incarnate

Title: Incarnate 
Author: Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul
Pages: 384
Published: January 31, 2011


Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.


Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

There are a lot of feelings about this book that I have. Rhee recommended me this book (not so much recommend as told me to read it or she would disown me) but as soon as I started it, I loved it. Immediately the reader is thrown into the perspective of Ana, who is the only "newsoul" in a world of people who have been born and born again (and can remember their past lives) for about 5,000 years. The mere concept is intriguing, and I had decided by page two I would finish the book no matter what because I wanted to see how a world like this would work. 

One thing that I find is outstanding about the book is the fact that I didn't end up hating Ana. In fact, I love her as a main character. I tend to find other favorites in books-side characters. Usually, especially in first person from one perspective and entire book, I find it burdensome. You realize all the flaws in a character and you want to smack them when they keep going on, and on, and on about something. While Ana does a lot of "I am a nosoul therefore I am meaningless and everyone hates me" especially in the beginning, she has a legitimate reason and I allowed it to not bother me too much. 

On the same note, she grows with the story. She is a dynamic main character, which is essential. She learns and the reader learns with her. It is a brilliant growth and I loved seeing it happen with each page turn. I also loved that when push came to shove with the romance in the book, she didn't just jump into it like many characters in YA novels do. Even though the person she had feelings for approached her, given the circumstances, she told him they needed to step back and not even talk about it right then. I literally cheered when she did that, because it was so different, and I adored it. At that moment, I was in love with the book even more. 

The only thing I personally dislike about the book is a small irk that won't make much sense to anyone who hasn't read it yet, but I dislike that near the end, an antagonist says he's doing things in the name of science. I am a big believer in science and the wonders and how vital it is to humans, and the direct jab that this author (while intentional or not) took at it did make me a bit frustrated. It took science's real purpose and twisted it into something horrifically evil. But I realize that was not probably the intention of the author at all, so I pushed my opinions on that aside and decided that the character was just crazy. 

There are many other reasons I loved--adored--the book. So many parts made me laugh and smile. I couldn't stop reading it. I haven't been much in a reading mood since the new year, but this book had me ignoring my friends and I just couldn't stop and put it down. I plan on buying the book when it is actually released (in order to support an author and a book I love) and I plan  on pre-ordering the next in the series when it comes out. 

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars

Review: Incarnate

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)

Title: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul
Pages: 384
Published: January 31, 2011


Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.


Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Review: I have so many feelings towards this book that I don't even know where to begin. When I first saw this novel, the concept interested me, as did the cover, and between the two I was determined to read it. When I luckily got my hands on an ARC, I dropped everything to read it, hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed with such a beautiful cover and a mystifying description.

Needless to say, I was not even close to disappointed.

The concept of a world that has souls that are constantly being reborn, reincarnated, is a magical thing all on its own, but when you throw in a new soul (or a nosoul as Ana likes to call herself), it's just downright intriguing. Add to that dragons, sylphs and a city that literally has a heartbeat and it just makes for an amazing novel.

When I started this, I expected to like it, because Ana was an intriguing character and the concept of these souls being reborn for hundreds of generations was really rather awesome. The fact that Ana not only got a chance to discover herself but also discover new friends, a new family, that was something wonderful all on its own.

I think the best part about the entire novel was probably the last thirty percent of the book, and while it has a lot to do with the big, dramatic climax of the story, that doesn't change the fact that it really turns the novel into a dramatic page-turner. I was surprised to find that things that I expected to happen didn't happen, and the plot line that I was following, I'd pre-determined would happen one way and it completely excited me with the fact that it didn't go the way I was thinking it would at all.

And the end. The end! It was magnificent.

Incarnate was a wonderful novel, and I really cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out, because I am so excited to see how Jodi Meadows can take an already amazing plot line and extend it further.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars
24 January, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: The Fallen (Nine Lives of Chloe King)

The Fallen (Nine Lives of Chloe King #1)

Title: The Fallen
Series: The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Author: Celia Thompson (Liz Braswell)
Pages: 256
Published: 2004

Summary: Chloe King is a normal girl. She goes to class (most of the time), fights with her mom, and crushes on a boy…or two. But around her sixteenth birthday, Chloe finds that perhaps she isn’t so normal after all. There’s the heightened night vision, the super fast reflexes – oh, and the claws.

As she discovers who she is – and where she comes from – it is clear she is not alone. And someone is trying to get her.

Chloe has nine lives. But will nine be enough?

Review: I have to admit before anything that this review is more than a little biased. The fact that I watched ABC Family's show based off of this book before I read the book obviously leads to a bias, but I believe that even if I had not seen the show first, I still would have given this novel the same rating that I have. Maybe one star more, but nothing less.

Chloe King is an average sixteen-year-old girl who has friend drama and teenage sexual tendencies and all of that which makes for an average young adult novel, but the best part about it is that she's not an average sixteen-year-old girl at all. From the beginning of the novel, the prologue that insinuates that she's about to die is intriguing enough to want to pick up the book and read it a little more intently than planned, and it only gets better when she falls off of the top of a tower, but other than that, the book falls short of anything considered spectacular.

Chloe's personality was not what I expected at all, and the fact that she just seems to spend the entire novel whining about the fact that she can't get one guy to kiss her despite the fact that she's already kissed/made out with two others is really kind of annoying. I understand the concept of teenagers being obsessed with sex, lies and drugs/alcohol, but I was expecting a little more out of this book, and I didn't think that it was going to revolve around Chloe's determination to get laid or how much alcohol she was going to drink with her friends.

The friend drama was also an annoyance of the book, and that seemed to take up a large chunk of the novel. Between Chloe and Amy fighting, Chloe and Paul disagreeing, Amy and Paul dating and just the three best friend whirlwind of drama, it was just frustrating. The only character I actually liked in the novels was Aleyc (I will never stop calling him Alek though, because that is what ABC Family has ingrained into my head). His personality was the best out of everyone's.

In my opinion, the worst part of the entire book was the fact that Chloe's powers were barely thought about, almost as if they were an afterthought in this teen drama, and the fact that she didn't even seem to care about them at first, that she didn't care about the fact that she'd fallen off the top of a tower or had claws or could do weird gymnastic moves, was just annoying. I know if anything like that had happened to me, I would be freaking out, so I don't understand her. And the end of the book was the only point where her powers were really talked about, and yet we still really never found out what was so special about Chloe King and why she had all these powers.

I am hoping that the next book is better than this one, but if it is not, I might just give up and not even bother to attempt to read the novels that one of my favourite ABC Family shows was based off of. It was just that bad.

Rating: ★★ 2/5 Stars
23 January, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Everblossom - A Short Story and Poetry Anthology

Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology

Title: Everblossom - A Short Story and Poetry Anthology
Author: Larissa Hinton
Pages: Unknown
Published: 2011

Summary: An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary.

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but dig a little deeper and the world not only shifts. It changes.

Review: Everblossom is definitely not a book that I would pick up and start reading if I saw it in a book store. It's not because the premise is bad (I don't think you can go bad with poems and short stories), but because poems and short stories aren't usually books that drag me in, unless they are a cohesive collection that ebbs and flows from one to the next.

Overall, reading Everblossom was an interesting experience, and I did enjoy each poem and short story on its own, but I really didn't see this as anything close to an anthology. Every time that I read a new poem or a new short story, I felt like someone had thrown me out of what I had just gotten comfortable in, and the WSV poems were just really rather annoying to me. They had to be my least favourite out of the entire book, but they weren't terrible. I just couldn't find flow in them, and that really bothered me.

Aside from the disjointed way that the book went, I did enjoy the characters and I definitely enjoyed the poems. I can't pick a favourite short story, but I know for a fact that the Rainbow poem was my favourite. It touched home with me, which was something that I greatly appreciated.

I would recommend that whoever is considering reading this anthology actually read it for the experience of opening yourself up to a new set of poems and short stories that you had yet to experience, especially since the paranormal aspect of them is a really fun aspect. I did enjoy reading this, and I would consider reading it again sometime in the future.

Rating: ★★★ 3/5 Stars

Kaitlyn's Review: I Am Not A Serial Killer

Title: I Am Not A Serial Killer (1 of 3) Author: Dan Wells Pages: 272Published: 2010
Summary: John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

While I read this book quite some time ago, I remember it well. As someone who wants to go into a psychology career, the aspect of a book in which a 13 year old boy knows that he has serial killer tendencies was absolutely fascinating and I bought it without hesitation. I read it in a very short amount of time; I remember not being able to put it down. Perhaps because of my personal interest in the way a sociopath's mind works, more than anything. 

While this is the first of a trilogy, I enjoy that with each book, it has its own plot and it doesn't get worse.  I did enjoy this plot. John's small town is plagued by a serial killer, and John is the only one who seems to know how to find it and hunt it down. I don't want to give spoilers, but I loved, loved, what ended up happening even if it ended up being very bitter-sweet. 

My only issue with these books is perhaps the writing. Because of the nature of the book, I suppose, it couldn't be considered "YA." Even though, it is much like a morbid YA book. John is 13, he has a crush on a girl. The writing is not bad, not at all, but it's not the best I've seen. The characters were rather well rounded, though it did kind of set me off that John, being so different, fell for such a typical girl. Perhaps her character wasn't fleshed out because she isn't the point of the story, but I really would have liked to gotten to know her more in this first book (though you do learn more about her in the coming books). 

Overall, I enjoyed all 3 of these books, though the first is probably my favorite. You learn the most about how his mind works, and the plot is, as I said, bitter-sweet. It's interesting and captivating.

Rating: ★★★★ 4/5

Review: The Water Wars

The Water Wars

Title: The Water Wars
Author: Cameron Stracher
Pages: 240
Published: 2011

Summary: Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations.

Review: While I have to admit that the main reason that I picked this book up was for the cover (I am such a sucker for a wonderful or exotic looking cover), that was not the reason I chose to read it. The description of the book, mainly the part about Kai and his complete disregard to the need to save water, was the reason that I was so determined to sit down and read this book.

The Water Wars's concept of a future dystopian world where countries will be fighting over who owns what water supply and where they're going to get their water from is something that I can really see happening, and that was a main thing that brought me to want to read this book. The concept that in a hundred years or even a thousand years our actual planet could be in this very same sort of situation was intriguing, so I gave it a chance, and while I don't regret giving it a chance, I almost feel like reading this novel was a waste of my time.

The main reason that this novel bothered me was Vera. She was just annoying in my opinion. She and her brother, Will, set off on an adventure to find their missing friend, Kai, and while I understand that that's all well and good, I just couldn't stand her at some points. Another reason that I wasn't a fan of the novel had to do with it being slow at some parts. When you sit back and think about it, it is a good novel, but there were just some points where I had to set the book down and walk away because I was getting too bored with it to actually bother and continue.

The ending, overall, was adequate. The way the novel was ended was cool, with the geyser, but I kind of wish that it had ended there rather than continued on those last few pages because where it could have been a wonderful ending, it lacked a little with the way it was ended. I was glad that Vera and Will's parents got to meet Ulysses and the woman who helped them (whose name I honestly cannot recall at the moment), but I think that it would have been better if that scene had happened in some other way.

I have to say, I did like the book. It just sort of lacked that wow factor that made it an amazing novel, and with the plot line, there really could have been so much more done to it to make it less of a lackluster novel. Regardless of all of that, I would still recommend it to a friend to read, because it is an intriguing novel.

Rating: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
22 January, 2012 | By: Rhee

Before I Die

Before I Die

Title: Before I Die
Author: Jenny Downham
Pages: 326
Published: 2007

Summary: Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

Review: When I started reading Before I Die, I was sitting in a book store, waiting for my mum to get out of an appointment and I realised that while I was reading it, I couldn't put it down. It had nothing to do with the writing or how captivating it was, but the mere fact that I wanted to see how it all ended for Tessa. I knew by the description and the category that it didn't have a positive ending, but I still wanted to know exactly what happened to end this book.

Upon finishing it, though, I have to admit that I am disappointed with having spent money on this book. The writing was poor, as was the characterisation. I expected for something to happen, anything, that would possibly make the book become a little better, but by the end of it all, even though it did upset me a little bit to read the ending, I found myself having a 'That was it?' moment with the novel once I had hit the last page. To me, the story didn't seem complete. The way that the author ended the book, while it did put the novel to rest, didn't quite hit the emotional factor that the reviews I had read about it insinuated.

Also, I was really rather disappointed with all of the characters other than Adam. The best thing about a novel is to see how a character grows and changes through the events that have happened to them, and I honestly feel like that didn't happen with anyone other than Adam. Tessa, while she accepted the fact that she was dying, seemed to say her whiny, inconsiderate self, and her best friend, Zoey, only seemed to get worse by the end of it. True, she did come to say goodbye to Tessa in the end, but she'd initially started with promising her dying best friend that she would be there to help her with her list and then managed to blow her off time and time again and then try and make Tessa feel bad for what she was doing to her.

Overall, the book was emotional and it was an adequate read, but it really wasn't something that I thought could grasp a captive audience. I had to stop reading this book multiple times because I just couldn't get into the emotions and writing that the author was trying to convey. It was a good book, but it wasn't anything spectacular.

Rating: ★★★ 3/5 Stars

Kaitlyn: Marzi

Title: Marzi
Author: Marzena Sowa (with art by Sylvian Savoia)
Pages: 230
Published: 2011
Summary: “I am Marzi, born in 1979, ten years before the end of communism in Poland. My father works at a factory, my mother at a dairy. Social problems are at their height. Empty stores are our daily bread.I’m scared of spiders and the world of adults doesn’t seem like a walk in the park.”
Told from a young girl’s perspective, Marzena Sowa’s memoir of a childhood shaped by politics feels remarkably fresh and immediate. Structured as a series of vignettes that build on one another, MARZI is a compelling and powerful coming-of-age story that portrays the harsh realities of life behind the Iron Curtain while maintaining the everyday wonders and curiosity of childhood. With open and engaging art by Sylvain Savoia, MARZI is a moving and resonant story of an ordinary girl in turbulent, changing times.

This book is about a little 10-year-old-girl growing up in Communist Poland at a turning point in the country's history. This is also a graphic novel, but really, that adds to the story. One thing about the art that I personally enjoy is that you see the illustration get used to drawing the characters and the drawings only get better as the book progresses. This is not just a documentary or a non-fiction-text-book-like book about Communist Poland, but it is the country seen through the eyes of a poor girl. She doesn't know what's going on very much of the time and her parents don't tell her much, but she knows something is wrong. You feel for Marzi and you get to know her family and her friends that are brought to life with her words and the pictures. Personally, I adored this book. It is a unique view on a serious situation; and while it feels like a story, it is not. It's a true memoir of a woman's life. Marzi is adorable and the story is heartwarming.

Rating: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars


Welcome! I'm Kaitlyn, co-founder of this blog with my friend Rhee. On this blog, we'll be posting reviews of the books we read. We're just two young adults, so none of this is professional, but maybe it'll help other people like us get a feel for the books we read. 
To be honest, Rhee probably will post more reviews than I (she tends to read more books in general) and sometimes, we'll post dual reviews on books we both read (she also tends to kick me in the butt to read good books). 
We hope you enjoy and find our reviews helpful!