Sunday, April 24, 2011


Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Pages: 238
Genre: Sci-fi

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate…until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

This book was fantastic. I love books in which the government is in control of all aspects of the citizens’ lives. Not that I love the idea of the government being in complete control, but I like the thought of that rebellion. Maybe I like to pretend, just for a little while, that I would be that one citizen who has had enough. Who takes matters into her own hands and won’t be brought down by the man.

In Cassia’s society, everything is designed to keep people in their optimal condition. Meals are given out individually with specific nutrient combinations in order to keep citizens healthy. Exercise is regulated in order to ensure people get the required amount without overdoing it. People are poisoned at the age of 80 to ensure they don’t outlive their health. And couples are matched based on genetic compatibility.

Cassia is matched to Xander, her best friend. The probability of two citizens from the same community being matched is slim to none. But it happened to Cassia. And then, it happened again. When she saw Ky’s face on her PortScreen. As you can imagine, this was confusing for Cassia. She grew up with faith in the system that controlled her life. But then they screwed up. And if they screwed this up, what else has gone wrong?

I like Cassia. She rebelled because the Society forced her hand. How do you tell a young girl that she has two perfect matches and not expect her to wonder why? It didn’t help that her grandfather’s 80th birthday was in the midst of all of the drama. Her grandfather who had been keeping secrets from the Society for far longer than Cassia even dreamed. Her grandfather who planted seeds in Cassia’s mind of rebellion and ambition.

I definitely recommend this novel. I also cannot wait for the sequel. And there better be a sequel!


Cover: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5
The Whole Shebang: 4.4/5


Title: Virals
Author: Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Pages: 319
Genre: Action/Sci-fi

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot-if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends, they’re a pack. They are Virals.

I got this book because I love the television show Bones. Kathy Reichs also wrote the book series that the television show is based on. This book was pretty good. It’s based on 4 nerds who live in the backwoods of South Carolina. These nerds are also pretty rebellious, which isn’t the norm. I liked that.
Tory is the epitome of a nerd. She likes science a lot and she won’t stop asking questions until she knows the answers. When she convinces her friends to break into their parents’ university laboratory to clean the dog tags they found, they find a lot more than the information of the fallen soldier.

They find a young wolf-puppy locked away in a cage hooked up to IV’s and monitors. They decide to break him out of that cage. When they do that, they become infected by an evolved strain of parvovirus, which is not supposed to be a threat to humans. This strain of parvovirus gives the teens “flashes” during which their senses are heightened and they’re stronger and faster.

During all of these changes, gunmen who don’t want them to learn the true story behind those dog tags are chasing the teenagers. This book was a good suspense, but ultimately forgettable. I almost wish she hadn’t added in the superhuman attribute to the teens. I think their adventures would have been cooler if they just figured their way out using their big nerdy brains.


Cover: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 3/5
The Whole Shebang: 3.2/5

Friday, April 22, 2011

City of Fallen Angels

Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry Books, 2011
Pages: 424
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And--most important of all--Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.
When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Holy Moly! I was waiting for this book for over a year and a half, and it did not disappoint! I love this series. Well it’s more that I love this world that Clare created. The Mortal Instruments and her other series, The Infernal Devices, are both set in the same world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and I can’t seem to get enough of it.

Shadowhunters are a group of supernatural police that are all part-angel, mostly-human Nephilim. It’s not necessarily that these people have an angel as one of their parents, but an angel, Raziel, gave the first Shadowhunters his blood so now the whole race is a little bit more than human. Downworlders is a generic term for any type of supernatural being that isn’t a Shadowhunter. A few examples are vampires, werewolves, faeries and warlocks.

The main characters in this book are Clary and Jace. Clary and Jace have quite a relationship. They started crushing on each other and everything was great, then they found out they were brother and sister. Gross. So then they felt awful that they could have those kinds of feelings for their sibling. Then we find out that they’re not really related. So after this incestuous rollercoaster, we find ourselves at the start of this 4th book. Where Clary and Jace are together, and happier than ever. One problem, Jace is dreaming of murdering Clary. And not just killing her, but slitting her throat in the middle of hooking up and stuff. It’s all very Freudian. And it makes you think about the whole Nature vs. Nurture argument. Jace has angel blood in his system, (more than an average Shadowhunter), so you would think he would not be dreaming of murdering his innocent girlfriend. But he was raised by the sociopathic Valentine who experimented on his own children in the woom; giving his son demon blood and his daughter, Clary, angel blood. How’s that for Nature vs. Nurture?

Another, less intense, conflict in this book centered around Simon. Simon is Clary’s very best friend who was turned into a vampire previously in the series. Simon is also dating a Shadowhunter, Isabelle, and a werewolf, Mia. Simon was a nerd before he became a vampire. And really he’s still a nerd, he’s just also a vampire. So seeing him being a player is absolutely hilarious. This is a fun, light contrast to Clary and Jace’s drama, which is nice.

This book was great. I can’t believe I have to wait until next May to see what happens next! I definitely recommend this series to everyone. But I don’t think this book would be good as a stand-alone. You really must read the whole series to really get it.


Cover: 4/5 (that chick’s eyes are freaky!!)
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5
The Whole Shebang: 4/5

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I am Number Four

Title: I am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2010
Pages: 277
Genre: Action/Sci-fi

We may be walking past you right now.
We are watching as you read this.
We may be in your city, your town.
We are living anonymously.
We are waiting for the day when
We will find each other.
We will make our last stand together—if
We win,
We are saved, and
You are saved as well.
If we lose, all is lost.

This book was good! I could not put it down. Admittedly, I watched the new movie before I read the book, so I was picturing the cast as the characters. But the casting director (and make-up artists) did a pretty great job of making the book’s characters come to life.
So yea, this book was really, really good. I like the author’s take on the environmental issues our planet is facing. I also like that the author is writing under the pen name of a Lorien Elder. That is a fun twist. Well, if it is a pen name…
But he outlines that the planet Lorien went through a similar environmental struggle centuries before Earth did. The Loriens figured out how to clean up their planet, and they did away with violence and pretty much all other forms of nonsense in the process. In doing this, their society was split into 2 main sects. The first, The Garde, developed powers that are called Legacies to defend the planet and its people. The second sect consists of the people who didn’t develop Legacies. So that is how Loriens dealt with and overcame the environmental struggle facing the planet. Lore also discusses the planet Mogadore’s similar problem. However, the Mogadorians did not deal with their problem and they eventually depleted their planet’s resources so much that they were forced to look for resources elsewhere. Their first stop on their search for resources was Lorien, the closest life-sustaining planet to Mogadore. When the Mogadorians attacked Lorien, a few young members of the Garde and their Cepan, Keepers, were able to escape and seek asylum on Earth. Earth is the second-closest life-sustaining planet to Mogadore, so the resource-sucking Mogadorians weren’t far behind.
I thought it was very interesting that he defined both sides of the spectrum that we are ultimately facing. Will we be more like the Loriens and try to find more environmentally-friendly ways to sustain our societies? Or will we be like the Mogadorians and just take, take, take until there is nothing left?
But that is not the main reason I enjoyed this book. I really liked the main character, John. Or Daniel. Or any of the other 70 names he’s had to use. He is number 4 of 9 young Garde who escaped Lorien when the Mogadorians attacked. He has been living on Earth since he was 4 years old with his Cepan, Henri. I like his conflict with feeling connected Lorien but really only ever knowing Earth as home. He left so young and he wasn’t able to feel as attached to Lorien as Henri does. So he struggles with risking his life and fighting for something that he isn’t sure is what he wants. Also, John reminds me of Clark Kent on the TV series Smallville. In that series, you see Clark develop his Superman abilities, and that also happens to John in this book. It was pretty cool to read about his super strength and speed, and about his Chimera dog, Hadley.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had a cool message without feeling too preachy. It had a good bit of action and suspense. And it was well-written enough that I couldn’t put it down. I read it in about 2 days. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone!!
Cover: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5
The Whole Shebang: 4.4/5

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Title: Angel (Maximum Ride #7)
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown, 2011
Pages: 245
Genre: Action/Sci-fi
Previous Maximum Ride Novels: The Angel Experiment, School’s Out-Forever, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, The Final Warning, Max, Fang

In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they’re trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it.
Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.
First of all, I get it. The planet is dying and humans are the reason. No matter how many ways you spin it, this is true. But let me tell you about the way James Patterson spins it.
This series is about a group of 7 kids from ages 7 to 15. These kids have wings. Max and her “flock” were cooked up in a laboratory. I say cooked up because they were test-tube babies and the scientists who were creating these babies spliced their DNA with avian DNA. That’s right, birds. And apparently these scientists created these “bird-kids” to save the world… from humans.
In this book, we meet the newest addition of mad scientists who believe they can end/save the world. This group is known as the Doomsday Group. Cheery, right? Well actually they seem to be. They target children and somehow whenever you are around them, everything just seems right. They talk about ending pollution and cleaning our resources. Their demonstrations begin with videos of deer drinking from babbling brooks and kids frolicking in meadows. However, they also make you feel peaceful about the idea of the total annihilation of the human race, minus “Generation 77” of course. This Gen 77 is another, much larger, group of ‘modified’ kids (and not just bird-kids, mind you). And supposedly the world will not survive unless they kill the humans.
So, that is how James Patterson spins the environmental crisis that faces the planet. I almost wish this series had ended a few books ago. I love the characters so I keep reading to see what’s happening with them, but the books are starting to get preachy. The first 3 or 4 were great, it was a new way to look at our situation and I really enjoy the characters. And let’s face it, James Patterson can write a book that is easy to get wrapped up in. But now it’s kind of repetitive.
You may ask why I don’t just stop reading them, if I am so done with the series. But I really do love the characters. Max is a pretty bad ass girl. She is 15, has a 15 ft wingspan and is supposedly destined to save the world. That’s pretty awesome. Fang is 15 and moody and supposedly hot for a gangly kid with wings. Iggy, also 15, is blind because of experimentation, yet has a better sense of direction than most of the other kids in the ‘flock.’ Nudge is 12, super girly, can hack just about any electronic device, and a kick ass fighter (well, they’re all really good fighters…). Gazzy is 8 and knows everything there is to know about explosives. His name is really Gasman because his gas smells really bad, and I think that’s hysterical. And finally there is Angel, the namesake for this 7th book. Angel can do it all it seems. She can fly, breathe underwater, read minds, control people and kick your butt. And she looks like an innocent 7 year old Shirley Temple while doing it. How could I not love these kids? So that is why I can’t stop reading these books. And that is the only reason I would recommend this book to anyone. I 100% recommend the first 3 books in this Maximum Ride series. But after that, well, you have to like to read as much as I do.
Cover: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Individuality: 4/5
The Whole Shebang: 3.8/5

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back to life, back to reality...

Wow! I love Disney World.
I just returned from my 10 day stay in sunny Orlando, Florida. Hence the lack of activity on the blog. I'm sorry, I read A LOT and even I can't justify keeping my nose in the books while 6 of the world's greatest theme parks are within 20 minutes of the house my family was renting. So the whirlwind that is Disney World/Universal Studios sucked me up and I was in Oz for a few days. But I'm back in Kansas....errr...Louisiana now and it's time to get cracking. So I am reading Angel by James Patterson at the moment and should have a review in the next few days!
Go to Disney World the first chance you get. It is the "happiest place on earth/place where dreams come true!!!!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Title: Crossed (Void City #3)
Author: J.F. Lewis
Publisher: Pocket Books, 2011
Pages: 405
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Other Void City Novels: Staked, ReVamped

In spite of his continuing hot-blooded affair with his soon-to-be sister-in-law Rachel, Eric’s plan is simple. Give his vampire girlfriend Tabitha the fancy wedding she’s always wanted, then head off to Paris for their honeymoon in the hopes of tracking down his sire, the Empress vampire Lisette. The City of Love proves anything but romantic when the True Immortal rulers of Europe try to block Eric from entering the Continent-and subject Tabitha to a series of challenges to prove her vampire worth. Back home in Void City, Eric’s volatile daughter Greta is getting lonely and bored-and that’s not good news for anyone. And when, like a bat out of hell, Lisette descends upon Void City to wipe Eric and his brood off the face of the earth-forever-this much is clear: the honeymoon is over.

The first thing I have to say about this novel is that I read these because they are so different. For the most part the rules about vampires are your classic “can’t go out in sunlight” and “can’t touch holy objects.” However I really enjoy Lewis’s idea of the different ranks of vampires having varying levels of ability and strength. The drones are the weakest and barely immortal, where the emperors are the most amazing and all seem to have some other magical element in their makeup. This part reminded me very much of one of my absolute favorite novels, A Brave New World.

Another very unique aspect about this novel is the main character, Eric Courtney. Eric is an emperor vampire and also a revenant, an angry ghost. Basically when Eric was turned into a vampire, he was pissed about the whole dying young thing and he also came back a revenant. But that is not really my favorite part of Eric. My favorite part is his attitude. For the most part he does what feels good. He doesn’t worry about hurting other people, because he honestly won’t remember within a few hours. And even though Eric used to run a strip club and kills people on a fairly regular basis, you can tell that he still has a lot of traditional ideas about honor and marriage.

I mention marriage, because the novel revolves around marriage. And it is interesting to see this no apologies, sleep around with anyone kind of guy, talk about being faithful. Because that’s what you do once you get married. He was turned into a vampire shortly after WW2 and so he was raised in a time where that was what you did when you got married. No matter how loose you were before your vows once you say “I Do” you were faithful. Apparently the only exception to this rule is your wife’s younger sister who is also a tantric witch. But he is certainly not perfect.

Overall, this novel would definitely appeal to a small range of individuals. I really enjoy Eric’s personality, his amnesia/Alzheimer’s-esque memory, and his very fickle vampire powers. But I can see where this novel and the series as a whole would not entertain a great many people. But if you are looking to read about a pretty badass dude who can’t remember how an entire room of people ended up dead, then this is definitely for you.

Cover: 2/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Individuality: 5/5
The Whole Shebang: 3.5/5

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Decision Made

When I created this blog I wasn't sure what my title or direction should be. So I went with "Still Undecided" for my title, and I chose to 'blog battle' for my direction. Obviously neither of these were great choices because I managed to write 2 blogs and then I quit. My best friend is home from Germany and my foe is no longer blogging. (These are one in the same by the way).

However, I am no longer undecided about the title or direction of my blog. I am an avid reader. I will read just about anything. I mostly choose my books based on the cover art and title. Very shallow and I must throw in the cliche that one should never judge a book by its cover. I know. But sometimes those covers are  just so great and I can't pass them up when I'm walking around my favorite place in this town, Barnes and Noble. And thank God and my parents for my Nook because it has saved me a Lot of money on those fancified cover books. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As I mentioned, I am an avid reader. So I have decided that I am going to create a book review blog. I am an aspiring writer and I need all the practice I can get. Also, I read a Lot of books and I love to talk about them and get all of that emotion I store up during the reading process out. So I am going to vent that emotion to the blog-o-sphere and hopefully get you all pumped to read these amazing books.

It is 1:58 am at the moment, so there will not be a book review blog this evening. And the blog itself will go under renovation as soon as possible. But, I am currently reading Crossed (Void City Series #3) by J.F. Lewis. I feel it is a perfect start to my amateur review career. So you have that review to look forward to before the weekend is up!