Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Secret Side of Empty

Review of: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu
Release date: March 11th 2014
Pages: 336
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Received for review: Finished copy from publisher
Overall grade: A

MT seems like your average American teenager but she has been hiding a big secret from everyone she knows besides her family. Her name is Monserrat Thalia and she is an illegal immigrant; the no social security number, undocumented type of illegal immigrant. Even her best friend since grade school doesn't know. Now MT is almost 18 and she's worried about what will happen to her. What is the point in getting good grades in school anymore if there is no possible way for her to go to college? She can't do anything with her life in fear of being found out she is illegal and then being deported, or even worse getting her family deported along with her. 

To make things worse her father is getting more and more abusive towards MT and she is afraid he will soon go after her mother and little brother as well. The only bright side in her life is her best friend, Chelsea and the new guy in her life. But soon they will both be going off to college and then what will MT do?

This was an incredibly emotional read that brings up the topics of being an illegal immigrant, domestic violence, and suicide. If you aren't ready to shed at least a couple of tears then don't try to read it until you are. It is a definite page turner and because of this I finished it in two days. From the beginning of the story you can tell that MT is a troubled young girl and she feels there is nothing she can do about her situation. What made this story even more touching to me was the fact that the author, Maria Andreu, based the story off of her own life living in America as an illegal immigrant. After reading this book I can imagine that being an illegal is a very intense and scary situation. It was a touching story that pulls at your heart strings. I won't be forgetting about it anytime soon. I would definitely check this book out if what you've read so far seems interesting. It's an emotional read that will have you turning the page until you've finished!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

We Were Liars

Review of: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Release date: May 2014
Pages: 240
Publisher: Random House
Received for review: ARC from Random House
Overall Grade: A

From the back cover:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island. 
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. 
A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret. 
Lies upon lies. 
True Love. 
The truth.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman is a member of the beautiful Sinclair family. In the Summer Cadence and her mother stay on the Sinclair's private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Other members of the Sinclair family spend their Summers there as well, including The Liars. The Liars, being Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat. They are all close to the same age and all have birthdays in the Fall. The majority of the time they have spent on the island they have been in trouble.

The story begins during Summer Fifteen when the Liars are 15-years-old. Near the end of the Summer there is an accident. When Cadence returns to the island during Summer Eighteen things are different, not only because of her constant migraines. The Liars are acting differently and it seems as if everyone isn't telling the truth to Cadence about the accident. Soon her whole Summer is spent focusing on what actually happened during Summer Fifteen and she won't stop until she finds out the truth.

First, just let me say WOW. I couldn't believe the ending of this book. Now, I should have expected something outrageous since I've read reviews before reading it myself but nothing could have prepared me for that ending. For those of you who are avid E. Lockhart readers this book is more dark than her others, so be prepared for that. I must say I cried repeatedly. It takes a lot for me to cry during a book so that is saying something right there, isn't it? For the first few chapters I was confused as to what was happening since the book skips to stories from different Summers and then takes you back to the present. But it kept the story moving at a quick pace and kept me wanting more! Overall I gave this book an "A" since it was simply great. The writing was excellent as I had expected it to be since it was by E. Lockhart and I love her writing. The story flowed at a great pace and the characters were all great as well. One little part that I loved was how the Sinclair family had many Golden Retrievers. I am a sucker for those dogs :). I highly recommend picking up a copy of this when it is released in May, you will not be disappointed! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Dead Girls Detective Agency

Review of: The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox
Release date: September 18th, 2012
Pages: 368 Hardcover, Nook 250
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received for review: Library e-book
Overall grade: B

Charlotte is your ordinary teenage girl living in New York. That is until one day when she's at the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up dead. She turns up in some sort of limbo and finds out from the other girls (and one mysterious boy) that she was murdered. How the heck is that possible? Who would have hated Charlotte that much that they needed to get rid of her? She has absolutely no idea.

To make matters worse she finds out that her boyfriend is apparently hooking up with every girl in school now that Charlotte is gone. And the hunky dead guy is messing with her head. She always thought being dead would be simple but that apparently doesn't happen until she gets her key to pass through the big red door. But how is that ever going to happen when finding out who her murderer is seems entirely impossible?

Now I've read some reviews on this book and noticed that people weren't rating it very highly. I really don't understand this since I was caught up in this book from the very first page. It's not really much of a paranormal book. I'd say it's more contemporary or chick lit. Since I am a fan of these genres I really enjoyed this book. It also has mystery too which you could probably tell from my summary. I had no idea who Charlotte's murderer was at all until right before they were revealed. The book also ended openly which I'm assuming means there is going to be a second book. Honestly, if you're in for a light read I would check this one out. I thought the storyline was great and I'm looking forward to another one.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hallowed (Unearthly #2)

Review of: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Release date: December 26, 2012
Pages: 432 pages (hardcover), 244 pages (Nook)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received for review: Library e-book
Overall grade: A

Clara is still trying to figure out what her purpose was supposed to be on the day of the fires. Saving Christian wasn't what she was supposed to do apparently. But on the other hand saving Tucker was never in her vision so that definitely wasn't it. While trying to figure this all out a new vision starts happening and it all but scares the pants off of Clara. Someone she loves is going to die, but who?

She is torn between her love for Tucker and her feelings for Christian and whether they are actually destined to be together or what. And now she has to worry about the new vision and what is going to happen. The life of a part angel is definitely not an easy one.

This was an amazing second book to the Unearthly trilogy. I was so excited when I saw the library had it! So much happened in this book it was almost shocking. I tried not to give too much away in the summary so I wouldn't spoil anything. Cynthia really has a way with words and her characters are all so amazing. I am so anxious now to read the final book in the trilogy, Boundless. I need to find out what is going to happen to everyone! If you're into angels, love, friendship, and heartbreak I would highly suggest checking out these books! Make sure to read Unearthly first though so you aren't lost. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Review of: Fallen by Lauren Kate
Release date: December 8th, 2009
Pages: 464 (Hardcover), 269 (Nook e-book)
Publisher: Delacorte books for Young Readers
Received for review: Library e-book
Overall grade: A

For the past 12 years 17-year-old Luce Price has been haunted by shadows. They have caused so many problems in her life, including a major life changing incident with a guy that she likes. This causes her parents to be afraid of her and they decide to send her to Sword and Cross boarding school which is a school for delinquents. Luce knows immediately that she won't fit in the second she arrives at the school. But then something strange happens. Her eyes fall upon a guy, Daniel Grigori, who seems oddly familiar. She can't place him and she has no idea why she feels like she knows him.

Over the next few days she tries to mention it to him but he just keeps shrugging it off. Soon Luce becomes obsessed trying to figure out just who Daniel is. With the help from her new friend Penn they start researching him to figure out what his deal is. But soon things get a little too crazy and the shadows seem to get more intense for Luce. It doesn't help that another guy at the school (Cam) is trying to compete for Luce's affection. Everything is getting so intense and then finally Daniel confesses and Luce's life will never be the same..

Wow. That is the first word that comes to mind after finishing this. It is the first book in the Fallen series. I can't wait to read the next book, Torment. I really had no idea where this book was going. Everything seemed like a surprise to me, especially when I got towards the end. I knew writing this review would be tricky since I didn't want to give anything major away. This book was so great though and it ended in a place where it left me really wanting to read the next book in the series while still wrapping up this book nicely. It drives me crazy when stories just abruptly end and then you have to wait forever until the next book. But the way this one ended I was satisfied but still left wanting so much more. I definitely enjoyed that aspect. I would for sure check this one out if you're into a little bit of mystery, suspense, and of course love.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blue is for Nightmares

Review of: Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Release Date: November 8th, 2003
Pages: Nook version 211 pages, paperback version 283 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Received for Review: Library e-book
Overall Grade: B

Stacey Brown is not quite a normal teenager. For basically her whole life she has been having random psychic visions. Her grandma has the same sort of ability. Along with these visions she can do some spells, sort of like a witch. Her friends think that isn't really possible but go along with her when she attempts to perform one.

Recently, Stacey has been having visions about her best friend Drea and they aren't good visions. The visions are hinting about Drea's death and Stacey is freaked out for more than one reason. Drea just shrugs it off when Stacey mentions it until a stalker starts scaring Drea. Are Stacey's visions true and will she be able to save Drea?

This is the first book in the Blue is for Nightmare series. I'm anxious to read the other three now (White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance). I liked the plot and how the story is set at a boarding school so the story focuses on Stacey and her friends without many adults butting in. This book had all my favorite subjects: mystery, magic, and a bit of love thrown in. The story flowed nicely and I was never bored. I'm looking forward to reading more by Laurie Stolarz :).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Beautiful Lies

Review of: Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman
Release date: August 7th, 2012
Pages: 432 (hardcover), 275 (Nook ebook version)
Publisher: Walker Children's
Received for review: Library ebook
Overall grade: B

Alice and Rachel are identical twins. They aren't your average everyday twins though. Everything about their appearance is identical and they have this special sense where they can feel what the other twin is feeling.

The girls were orphaned when they were 9, and they are now 18 and have been living with their aunt and uncle and their son, Charlie. One night during a local fair Alice goes missing. Rachel immediately starts to look for her, she knows that something has happened to her. But her aunt and uncle don't seem to think anything is wrong. Alice takes off and disappears all the time, it's not a big deal. She'll come back. But what they don't know is that Alice didn't go missing...Rachel did.

This was definitely a good read and a good mystery too. I checked it out since it was about identical twins and I'm always interested in books with twins since I have twins of my own :). I was sucked in immediately. I wanted to find out what happened to Rachel. I kept thinking I had the right answer but I never turned out to be right. I love that in a mystery. If I can figure out what happened then the book isn't interesting anymore! But that wasn't the case here. The only thing I didn't like about this read was that I felt there were so many different characters that I could never remember who was who. I found myself having to go back and re-read sections to remember who a certain person was. Also, the flashbacks in the middle of chapters were a bit confusing as well. But other than that this was a really great book. So much happened that I never expected to happen. I will definitely be picking up another book by Jessica Warman soon.