The Farm Book Review

The Farm by Emily McKay

Published: December 4, 2012

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Series: The Farm, Book 1

Pages: 432

Synopsis:

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

My Thoughts:

The Farm took me completely by surprise. I had not really heard anything about the book so I honestly didn’t have high hopes for it because of the synopsis. It’s a dystopian thriller with a virus that turns people into vampire type things, I mean to me that sounds like most books that have been released since The Hunger Games and Warm Bodies. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

For starters, the book switches bares rations between three different people. I always love that, but what it even better was that one of those people were autistic. It was really interesting seeing the author’s take on how an autistic person sees and interprets the world around them. I have never read anything like that before, and ended up looking forward to those narrations the most.

Another great thing about the book that I love and don’t see often enough is how much detail the author put into the story. The entire book spanned only a few days, but was still fast paced and exciting enough that it never dragged on. I love when author’s are able to write out whole days of a character’s life and make it interesting instead if just skimming over most of their lives and only showing small moments.

The paranormal aspect of the book was very interesting. I wasn’t expecting it with the science fiction and dystopian themes already so strong in the book, but I really enjoyed it and though the author handled it well. With the way the book ended I am super impatient to get the next book to see what happens since the driving force of the book is shattered in a way. I wonder how the story will continue on, and can not wait to find out.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a very good story with great characters, an amazing plot, and a romance that had me on the edge of my seat. I was very surprised by how much I loved this book, and hope that more people will read it and give the series a chance.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

Another Little Piece Book Review

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publisher: June 11, 2013

Pages: 432

Synopsis:

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn’s haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

My Thoughts:

Another Little Piece is haunting and lovely in such a way that I couldn’t put it down. The writing is absolutely beautiful, but the story is dark and thrilling.

I was quite surprised at how bloody and disturbing the book was. There was murder, cannibalism, and a strange paranormal aspect to it. I was very connected to the main character and was on the edge if my seat the whole time wondering what she would do or what would happen to her next. I hated what she was, but loved her as a person and character.

The way the author chose to write the story was perfect for it. The whole book had a poetic and dreamy quality to it. Pairing the writing and story together made a unique mix that was just perfect. If it was not written that way it would have been like a thrilling Steven King novel. Instead it was disturbingly beautiful, and I loved it.

Even the love interest was interesting. The pair were both quirky in a very real way, but each had a different paranormal aspect to them that made them work well as a couple in a way that I would never think of being able to. Overall I recommend this book to people who love amazing writing and paranormal stories done really well.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

The Secret Ingredient Book Review

The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis

Published: June 11, 2013

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Synopsis:

Olivia doesn’t believe in psychics. But the summer before her senior year of high school, she meets one in an elevator.

This summer will be pivotal, the psychic warns. Please remember—all your choices are connected.
Olivia loves her life in Silver lake, Los Angeles, but lately, something’s been missing. And after getting this strange advice, her world begins to change. A new job leads Olivia to a gorgeous, mysterious boy named Theo. And as Olivia cooks the recipes from a vintage cookbook she stumbles upon, she begins to wonder if the mother she’s never known might be the secret ingredient she’s been lacking.
But sometimes the things we search for are the things we’ve had all along.

My Thoughts:

The Secret Ingredient is a great contemporary novel in the likes of Sarah Dessen. I loved the lightness, fun, and quickness of the story. My favorite thing about this book is that the author did a great job of combining the more serious aspects of the main characters life with the lighter ones.

The story involves the main character going through hard times, falling in love, getting her first job, and just being a normal teenager. I loved reading the book because I loved how much I connected to the main character. She is funny, witty, and goes through a lot of things that most teenagers go through. But the story is also great because it involves things like having two fathers, being adopted, and dealing with a parent who loses a job.

The book was never too serious or too light. It had a great tone to it and I recommend it to people who love contemporary novels. It was just a really great fun and light read that is perfect for summer.

Rating: 3 Stars / 5 Stars

The Book of Blood and Shadow Book Review

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Published: July 9, 2013

Publisher: Ember

Pages: 464

Synopsis:

One night. One body, broken in a pool of blood.
One killer, lost in the shadows.
One girl, left behind.
Left alone, to face the consequences.
To find the truth.
To avenge the dead.

One night is all it takes to change Nora Kane’s life forever. Her best friend is dead; her boyfriend has vanished. And the trail of blood leads straight back to her: The person who might be responsible. The person who might be next.

Desperate to save the people she loves and determined to find justice for the ones she’s lost, Nora unearths a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. Something to which Nora herself might hold the key. It turns out her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries—and solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Thoughts:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is dark, thrilling, mysterious, and well written. On the other, though, there are annoying parts to the story that seem to happen in many YA book.

The story itself is amazing. The historical conspiracy mystery aspect of it made it feel like a YA version of an addicting Dan Drown novel. The characters go through a bloody and dark journey of translating hundreds of years old letters, going across the world, and following hidden messages to find an answer to something never solved before. It was a very interesting plot to read, and therefore was so hard to put down.

But then there were those parts of the book that made me roll my eyes. The way everything just happened to fall in place at the right time, the way the main character didn’t really question weird things going on like a guy following her who would have no idea where she even lives, and the nonexistent parents, dumb police, and clueless teachers who barely questioned anything going on. These are all things that are huge pet peeves of mine when it comes to YA literature, and it made me really conflicted since I loved the story but hated that the book had these parts to it.

Overall it was an amazingly afflicting book that had a plot unlike anything I had ever read in YA and that I loved. Even though it had those parts to it that are annoying, it is definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it to readers that love YA and mystery and conspiracy type stories.

Rating: 3 Stars / 5 Stars

Transparent book review

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

Published: May 21, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 368

Synopsis:

Transparent’s Fiona McClean could be a superhero. She has a mutation that allows her to become invisible. But her father, a Las Vegas crime lord, forces her to use her power for evil. Since she was five, she’s been stealing cars, robbing banks, and spying on people.

Fiona’s had enough, so she escapes to a small town far from her father’s reach. Happiness is hard to find surrounded by a mother she hates, a brother she can’t trust, and a guy at school she can’t stand, but Fiona manages to make some friends. And when her father finally tracks her down, Fiona discovers how far she’ll go to protect everyone she’s come to love.

Fans of strong heroines like Daughter of Smoke and Bone’s Karou or Maximum Ride’s Max will fall in love with Transparent by Natalie Whipple.

My thoughts:

Transparent is one of the most unique books that I have read so far this year. It’s a mixture of The Godfather and X-Men with a contemporary romance feel to it.

The powers that people had were really interesting, especially with the main character’s invisibility that she can’t turn on or off. The author did a really great job at showing the main character’s feelings and struggles at not being able to see herself or have other people see her. Although the main tone of the book is lighter, those feelings and other things like her relationship with her huge crime doing father are written much deeper. I loved that the author was able to do that. It was never too light or intense, but had a good mix and flow to it.

The romance was so good. I loved the relationship that Fiona develops, and am most excited to continue that aspect of the story in the next book. It wasn’t instantaneous or even predictable. I had no idea that the story would take that turn and I am so glad that it did.

The best thing that I think this novel does best is blend the light romance and the heavy crime and escape aspects to where it’s a more gender neutral novel. Both guys and girls will really enjoy it.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

The Program Book Review

The Program by Suzanne Young

Series: Program, Book 1

Published: April 30, 2013

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 416

Synopsis:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Thoughts:

With all of the dystopian books being published lately, it’s hard to find one that is unique and I really click with. This one was one of those. Even though it is a dystopian, the world felt real. I could imagine the teenage suicide epidemic and The Program being things that could happen in the very near future.

Reading The Program was a serious emotional ride. I cried and screamed in frustration many times while reading. The story is really depressing, but so good that I couldn’t put it down.

The romance was amazing. I loved reading their story of falling in love, and the way that they interact and support each other was very real and mature. The way that the author wrote all of the relationships so intense and real is what made the story depressing. When the characters were separated or something tragic happened to them it felt so depressing reading about it because I was connected to the characters and their relationships.

The plot was also much more complex than I had anticipated. There were so many plot twists and revelations that I had no idea who to trust, who was really who they said they were, or what to even believe. I did not predict nearly half or what happened, and the ending especially took me by surprise. There is a huge cliff hanger, and I can not wait for the next book to come out so I can see what happens.

Overall this book was just amazing. I loved every single aspect of it, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great and original dystopian read that has a great romance.

Rating: 5 Stars / 5 Stars

The End Games Book Review

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

Published: May 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins

Synopsis:

It happened on Halloween.
The world ended.
And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

My Thoughts:

The End Games was my first encounter with a book about zombies, and I really loved it. The book does not focus too much on the zombies, but instead in the people and their survival. That is what I think made it a really great read. I got to see how different people react in the same horrible events, and how the world coming to an end really changes people and shows what people will do to help themselves and the ones they love survive.

The author wrote the main character in a very real way. Instead of the normal and very unrealistic teenagers that are usually in young adult books, the teenagers in this book were how real teenagers are. The main character, Michael, was awkward, said weird things, was dorky, nervous in a very not cute way around girls, and still kind of a kid. Although I do enjoy the way teens are usually written since it makes them seem more my age and hence more relatable to me, it was nice and refreshing to read through a character’s point of view that said and did things that are cringeworthy, but how most guys his age actually are.

The romance in the book took me by surprise. I was not expecting it at all, but really loved it. Again, it was very real and awkward and cute. Their relationship was done well, and did not take away from the main story. The relationship between the main character and his younger brother was also amazing. I have a sibling the age of the younger brother, and I really connected to Michael because of the way he cares for and keeps his brother safe. Reading about them together gave me so many feels because I have no idea if I could handle and do what Michael does for Patrick if I were in that situation.

Overall the novel was amazing. The zombie were fun to read about, and there was a strong emotional aspect in the relationships and survival stories. The ending was done so well, and I can not wait to read another book from this author. I loved his writing style, the way he pulled the story together, and I highly recommend everyone read this book.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

Losing Hope Book Review

Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

Series: Hopeless

Published: July 8, 2013

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 336

Synopsis: Sometimes in life, in order to move forward you must face the past…#1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover held readers spellbound with her novel Hopeless, the story of what happened when a troubled girl named Sky encountered a long-lost childhood friend, Dean Holder. With Holder’s help, Sky uncovered shocking family secrets and came to terms with memories and emotions that had left deep scars.Hopeless was Sky’s story. Now, in Losing Hope, we finally learn the truth about Dean Holder.

Haunted by the little girl he couldn’t save from imminent danger, Holder’s life has been overshadowed by feelings of guilt and remorse. He has never stopped searching for her, believing that finding her would bring him the peace he needs to move on. However, Holder could not have anticipated that he would be faced with even greater pain the moment they reconnect.In Losing Hope, Holder reveals the way in which the events of Sky’s youth affected him and his family, leading him to seek his own redemption in the act of saving her. But it is only in loving Sky that he can finally begin to heal himself.

My Thoughts: When I first got this book I was excited and a little hesitant. I have never read a book before that is a retelling of another book from another point of view. I wanted to see what Holder was thinking throughout the book, but did not want to just reread every event of Hopeless through his eyes, and have nothing really added on to it. This book definitely did not do that.
Although this is a retelling of Hopeless, it takes place before that book starts, and there are also a ton of scenes in this book that did not happen in that one. I really got to know Holder a lot better, and I loved him so much after reading this. He is truly such an amazing guy that has been through an amazing amount of horrible events. The book also made me love Holder and Sky’s relationship more. Being able to see both of them from the other’s eyes made me appreciate and love them together even more than I did before, and I already really loved them.

The way that the author had Holder write in a journal to his sister Les was also really nice. Some of the scenes from Hopeless are taken out or shortened, and instead Holder would write a journal entry just briefly describing it. That way it was not too redundant, but I also got to view how Holder felt about those events, which I really liked. It also was a chance for the reader to see how much he loved his sister and misses her since he constantly talks to and about her and the memories he has of them together in the journal.

As a whole, the book is defiantly not redundant. I just read Hopeless a couple of months ago and had problem reading this even with remembering most of what happened. There was just so much added to the story that makes it very different. It really is not just a retelling of Sky’s story. This book is Holder’s story. You get to know and love him so much that even if you have not read Hopeless, you will completely understand what is going on.

I loved this book so much. Reading the story a second time was just as amazing as the first. I would recommend reading Hopeless before reading this book, though. Although the main story is the same, if you read this book first it will ruin a lot of the revelations that happen in the first book. If you have read Hopeless, I highly recommend reading Losing Hope. It was just as amazing, and there is a lot of new information in this book.

Rating: 5 Stars / 5 Stars

You can buy Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover here:

http://amzn.to/1aq1jQr

Going Vintage Book Review

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Published: March 26, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 320

Synopsis:
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to “go vintage” and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy’s cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she’ll get it done. Somehow.

Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.

My Thoughts:
Going Vintage is one of the wittiest and most hilarious books that I have even read. The author has such a great writing style that had me constantly laughing and wishing that I was that funny. Overall, everything about this book was really great. I loved the characters, story, romance, and relationships so much.

All of the different things the main character and her sister do to try and kind of relive the 1960s is really fun to read about. The different clothes, hair styles, lack of technology, and things they did for fun were described in a way that made me want to do the same. I loved that the main character had her sister help her out with the list of things to do to go vintage, and a lot of the things that all of the characters did, especially the sister were also really hilarious. When they were mad the fights were comical, and it made me wish so much that I had a sibling relationship like the two of them.

The other relationship that I enjoyed was the romantic one that develops throughout the book. It is slow to start, complicated, and the way that it develops is very real. They do not jump straight into romance, but start as friends and the main character gives herself time to heal and grow as a person before committing to the relationship, which I really liked since she did just leave a serious relationship that lasted a long time.

The book as a whole is a very real and heartfelt book, but is written in a funny and light way. There are breakups, cheating, fights, secrets, and betrayal in the book, but it is so enjoyable and fun to read that I could not put the book down. I loved that the writer did that with the book. She showed that all these sucky things happen in life, but there is so much humor to it all, and so many good times that happen that outweigh the bad.

Rating: 5 Stars / 5 Stars

You can purchase Going Vintage here:

http://amzn.to/1aq1viM

Linked Book Review

Linked by Imogen Howson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Published: June 11, 2013

Pages: 368

Synopsis:
When Elissa learns her telepathic twin is the subject of government experiments, the girls find themselves on the run with secrets worth killing for in this futuristic, romantic thriller. Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. Now, all she has is nightmarish visions and unexplained bruises. Finally, she’s promised a cure, and a surgery is scheduled. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the truth behind her visions: She’s seeing the world through another girls eyes. A world filled with pain and wires and weird machines. Elissa follows her visions, only to find a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl Lin who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. A twin she never knew existed.

Elissa helps Lin evade the government agents who are ruthlessly tracking her down, but they’re struggling to avoid capture, and soon Elissa is forced to turn to the only person who can help: Cadan, her brothers infuriating, arrogant best friend, and new graduate of the SFI space flight academy. Cadan is their one chance at safety. But Lin is too valuable to let go, and Elissa has knowledge that is too dangerous. The government will stop at nothing to get them back.

My Thoughts: This book had a great science fiction world that was futuristic and really fun to read about. The writing was amazingly vivid and descriptive. Everything the author wrote about I could picture perfectly in my mind, which helped a lot since the world and its technology are complex. Another part that I loved was the romance in the book. It was very slow to build and the romantic tension between the two of them made it feel real.

The relationship between the twins is also really great. They do not really understand each other and since they have just met it’s hard for them to act as sisters or even friends right away. The way that they grow together and form that sisterly bond was also very real and I admired them for how they looked past the others flaws and quickly developed a deep love for each other.

The world in the book is really cool. There is futuristic technology, spaceships, different planets that the people live on, and most of the book even takes place in outer space. I have never read a book like that and it was fun to read about their troubles on the spaceship and the problems between the different planets. The book was a great start to a series, and even if you are a person who does not like to read series, this book wraps up in a way that it could be a great standalone. I really enjoyed this book and can not wait for the rest of the books in the series to come out.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

You can purchase Linked here:

http://amzn.to/12hVlIE