Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 470 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (March 2nd 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061726818
ISBN-13: 9780061726811
Source: Purchased from BookDepository

First Sentence: “They say that before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”
Favorite Line from the Book: “Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

Book Summary: What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

It has been hours since I finished reading the book, and yet I still don’t know how to review it.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love the book… too much that is!  That’s the reason why I cannot put into words the things that I feel.  Maybe I better start with the plot.

Samantha Kingston is your typical popular high school gal.  She has her three best friends, a very popular and handsome jock boyfriend, and a very adorable little sister.  Perfect life, right?  Well, she thought so too, until an after-party accident made everything changed.  She instantly felt that she was dying… and she did.  What was surprising was that she woke up from the alarm of her clock, but it’s not the next day.  It’s still February 12th, Cupid’s Day, the day that she’s been anticipating to be doing “the deed” with her boyfriend.  And guess what?  The day kept on repeating itself, not once, not twice… but SEVEN times!

Eventually, Samantha was able to realize that she needed to do some things right.  She needed to re-evaluate herself and how she treated other people.  She felt certain that by doing all these things, everything would fall on their rightful places and everything would be fine.

I am not going to delve in too much into the story as I might give out too much.  Anyhow, the prologue captivated my interest, I mean it was so intriguing.  The first few chapters irritated me.  I mean, I actually felt the meanness of these girls!  And I was beginning to be pissed with Samantha for not doing anything to stop her friends from harassing those poor students who couldn’t even defend themselves.  Then, the next chapters just simply captured not only my attention, but my emotions as well.  This book has been a roller coaster ride for me.  I loved the different twists and turns.  I salute Lauren Oliver for writing such a wonderful novel.

All in all, all I can say is WOW!  Definitely, this book is something that everyone should read and never miss out on!

Here’s the book trailer:

 

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Review: Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: FeBalzer + Bray / HarperCollins; 1st edition (January 25th 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061992763
ISBN-13: 9780061992766
Source: Purchased from FullyBooked

Book Summary: Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

If you need a book which will make you keep on reading then this is it!

The book started off in an interrogation room and a girl, Vesper 1 (Emily), was being question about the series of events which would be later on be revealed within the book.  Emily is your ordinary geek girl.  Reading books, watching DVDs, and basically a girl, choosing hanging out with her best friend than going out on a Friday night, that’s Emily Webb.  Nobody really and truly knows her except her bestfriend, Megan and she’s fine with that.  Well, Megan thought she really knew Emily.  Until one night, the other popular, pretty Emily Cooke got murdered and all the changes started to happen to OUR Emily.  Emily Webber is your ordinary awkward geek by day, and yet transforms into sexy, confident girl by night time.  She does extraordinary things by night and wakes up confused the next day.  Everyday, things started to get weirder and weirder and Emily thinks that she’s being hunted by the ghost of the other Emily.  With a murderer running rampant and still on a mission to shoot random teenagers, Emily is thinking if everything that’s happening are all tied together.

I instantly got hooked with this book.  I liked the idea of the author to include transcripts of the interrogation, especially on the very first page of the book.  It brought out mysteriousness and definitely a feeling that there is something that you don’t want to miss out on.  I kept reading and reading and before I knew it, I’ve finished the entire book and even asking for more!

The premise is a breath of fresh air.  When you are reading a YA novel, there’s always ALWAYS a love story involved.  But in Vesper, it delved more on self-discovery and friendship.  Although there is a promise of a love story in the succeeding books.  That’s not too bad either as I liked all the teenage boy characters in the book.

I liked the pacing of the book… how it gradually builds momentum and gives you the feeling that you want to ride with it.  Overall, it is an intriguing read, fast-paced, and has a lot of things to look forward to on the next installment of the series.

Here’s the video for you to check out:

 

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Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; 1st edition (August 31st 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312656262
ISBN-13: 9780312656263
Source: Purchased from Powerbooks

First Sentence: “Our arrival didn’t exactly go as planned.”
Favorite Line from the Book: “Some say we can’t choose who we fall in love with; love chooses us. Sometimes people fall for the complete antithesis of everything they believe they’re looking for.”

Book Summary: Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

I got interested in reading this book because it was something new.  Although there are already a couple of books about angels, this is something new because the angel is the lead girl character.  At the same time, I loved the cover’s simplicity which promised a great story.

The first part of the book measured up to the cover’s radiance.  But as I went along, I felt unsatisfied.  I felt that the story was dragging.  Although it was a fresh breath of air that the story-telling perspective came from Bethany’s point view, I somehow felt that there were parts wherein if scrapped, the story can still go on.  I appreciated that you can really “see” through the eyes of an angel-turned-human through Bethany’s perspective as opposed to the other angel-themed novels.  I got fascinated how the brand new experiences and newly gained knowledge was presented by the author through Bethany, how the experience of falling in love for the very first time was clearly defined, how the thoughts of an angel about the world was voiced out.  BUT, what I wasn’t able to really dig into was Bethany’s clinginess to Xavier, how she was so impulsive.  And yet, I thought, that any teenager is like that.  Xavier on the other hand was too good to be true. I am interested to see in the next books if he will get a flaw or something.  Moving on the secondary characters, Gabriel and Ivy, it seems like the author still has a lot in store for them in the succeeding books.  Both stood as the parental components of the book and even considered as the guiding pillars for Bethany.  I would definitely like to see more stories developed around Gabriel and Ivy.  The villain, well for me he was very well thought off.  I was able to feel the how cruel he is and the menace of his voice and actions.  But my only problem was he just showed up rather late in the book.  It’s as if the author just thought about inserting a conflict to build some kind of tension.  The ending of this conflict was rather abrupt.  It feels like I could have gotten more from the action.  Well, I hope the rest of the action will be seen in the next book, Hades, which will come out this year.

Over all, I liked the book enough to finish it and perhaps buy the next one just for me to see how the characters develop and how the conflicts are resolved and what happens to the love story of Bethany and Xavier.  It was still a refreshing read even with some of the flaws.

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Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 471 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Book; 1st edition (October 1st 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 015206396X
ISBN-13: 9780152063962
Source: Purchased from Book Depository

First Sentence: “In these dungeons the darkness is complete, but Katsa has a map in her mind.”
Favorite Line from the Book: “I know you don’t want this, Katsa. But I can’t help myself. The moment you came barreling into my life I was lost. I’m afraid to tell you what I wish for, for fear you’ll… oh, I don’t know, throw me into the fire. Or more likely, refuse me. Or worst of all, despise me,” he said, his voice breaking and his eyes dropping from her face. His face dropping into his hands. “I love you,” he said. “You’re more dear to my heart than I ever knew anyone could be. And I’ve made you cry; and there I’ll stop.”

Book Summary: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Okay, so where should I begin?  I badly wanted to get this book after reading Fire, its companion novel.  I looked everywhere for this, but since it has been published years ago, it’s not available here in Manila anymore.  I then looked for it in BookDepository where they have worldwide shipping.  When the book finally arrived, I am in awe of the book cover.  The cover looks bold, with the sword and all, and yet it also has a look of softness in it.  The cover was able to reflect the entirety of the story.

During the fist few chapters of the book, I struggled reading it as I felt that it was rather slow moving.  But after a hundred pages or so, I finally got hooked and couldn’t put the book down even though I knew I should already be sleeping.  I liked how the author formed the characters.  I instantly fell in love with Po and started understanding Katsa.  What I really loved about this book is how Katsa learned self acceptance, how Po overcame the tragedy which fell on him, how Bitterblue fought hard to survive, and how Katsa and Po accepted each other’s shortcomings and points of views.  Although this is set in a whole new world so foreign to us, the author was able to inject these components flawlessly.

I will definitely re-read Fire and excitedly anticipating the release of Bitterblue in September.

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