Monthly Archives:: February 2012

"Leap" into Books Giveaway Hop (Intl)

February 29, 2012 Giveaway 163

Happy Leap Day! And thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to be participating in my very first blog hop! I embrace any and all reasons to celebrate a holiday, and Leap Year doesn’t just happen willy nilly! To celebrate, I’m giving you a really awesome book! I love giveaways where I get to choose my own prize, so I’m giving you a book up to $10 (USD) from The Book Depository (or Amazon if you’re in the USA). Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, and you’re all set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Visit the other participating blogs in the linky found here.)


The Intern by Jess C. Scott (Book Review)

February 28, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 5 ½

The Intern by Jess C. Scott (Book Review)The Intern by Jess C. Scott
Published by Self on August 17, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
17-year-old Suzie Q, smart kid and closet dance enthusiast, travels with a classmate to a world-class city for an internship program. She finds herself undeniably attracted to the suave hip-hop instructor, Jo.Zee, who recruits her into a dance fitness DVD he is producing. When Suzie sees (or thinks she sees) the real Jo.Zee, she must decide if she will trust him...or her instincts.

1. I’ve got extremely mixed feelings about this book. While I liked the idea, the execution was poor. The grammar was bad, the editing needed to be more precise, and the style bothered me. I found a ton of typos… It was written in first person, which takes talent that this author does not really have…

2. The details were too specific, especially regarding feelings. Nothing was left to the imagination. Jess spelled out every single emotion so you couldn’t put yourself in the character’s place.

3. There’s a lot of long descriptions of dance routines, which were so hard to follow. I could never picture in my mind the dances that the character(s) were doing. You have to be a Korean-Pop/Hip-Hop dancer to really understand, in my opinion. Maybe that’s not a big deal, but there’s a lot of it and I would have skimmed over those more if I were not planning to review this book.

4. Now, I really liked the story… and the idea. And I did find myself reading further to see what happened next. However, I found myself being confused by critical story elements, which is not normal for me. I don’t get confused by what I read… lol. Not to sound pretentious, but I’m a reading teacher, so my comprehension was not the problem. It was the writing. I had to read entire passages a second time to try and figure out what was going on.

I dunno. I liked the story, but the grammar and writing was sub-par. It all boils down to two things: it screams of being self-edited, and it screams of being self-published. I did not get the feeling that this was written by a professional, but more like someone who thought it might be a fun endeavor.


Bookish Finds: Support Worldwide Reading! (w/ Discount Code)

February 25, 2012 Bookish Finds 7

Bookish-FindsOriginal

Bookish Finds is a feature here at That Artsy Reader Girl, where I highlight awesome bookish things I come across during my exciting life.

Hi guys! I’m back with a gem of a bookish find for you today. It’s a company called Gone Reading International.

 

 

Who?
GoneReading markets a unique collection of brilliant products for the reading lifestyle, and donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund new reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world.

What?
Choose from hundreds of products made specifically for readers and book lovers, including many exclusives to GoneReading.  FREE Standard Shipping on all orders of $25 or more, and a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee.

Why?
Gone Reading International donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund new reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world.  Read more about Gone Reading International’s philanthropic mission.

(This text was pulled directly from GoneReading’s homepage.)

I love shopping, and I love it even more if it’s for a good cause. There are so many awesome products on this site, and I can’t wait to start spending way too much money there. I found lots of fun things while browsing including designer bookmarks (both card stock ones and metal charm ones), book journals, book ends, bookplates, book lights, bookish t-shirts, and even a game about books.

A book journal to write all your favorite quotes and passages down in! Love this idea.
Buy it here.


Harry Potter versus Twilight bookmark. They also have a Twilight versus Harry Potter one.
Buy them here and here.


I really like this one too!
Buy it here.


“It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” board game. It’s a game all about first lines and books! Sounds like fun!
Buy it here.


Look at these cute owl bookends! They also have flowers, fish, and dinosaurs. How cute for a kid’s room?
Buy bookends here.


They sell men’s and women’s t-shirts. Love this one!
Browse more shirts here.


Love this shirt too!

They have lots of other fun things as well, and what better reason do you need to shop than to help spread the love of reading to people everywhere?

The founder and CEO, Brad Wirz is offering a coupon code to my dedicated readers25% off everything except the bookends! This coupon expires one month from today (March 25th), and you can use it as much as want between now and then. You can even share it with your friends and family. Be sure to go and see what they’ve got and let me know if you purchase anything. :) Thanks so much, Brad, and good luck in your endeavors.

Here’s the code: JANAS25


Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Book Review)

February 24, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 12 ★★★★★

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Book Review)Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on March 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 338
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

I love traveling. When I read the blurb for this book on Netgalley, I was sold before I even finished! This book changed my outlook on life. I feel like there was a little bit of me laced within the text. I felt like I was discovering the same things about myself as Bria did–like she was living the story I was supposed to be living. I’m kind of jealous she got to go on the trip, and I just read about it! There is not one thing about this book that I didn’t adore, so let’s begin the fangirl review right here. This is going to be really hard! I always have a really hard time writing a review for a book I love, so we’ll see how this goes!

1. Bria did something I would LOVE to do. She just picked up and went on this crazy adventure through Central America. Along the way, she learned so much about herself and gained a lot of life experience. Plus, she saw amazing places, experienced new things, met cool people, and fell in love. I envy her tenacity, and the fact that she had the guts to fly off on her own like that!

2. This book is artsy! Bria is an artist, and a traveler. Do you know who Bria really is? Bria is ME! Her love of art shone through everything she did, and everything she said. I totally identified with her for these reasons. Kirsten Hubbard is also artsy, thus one of the reasons I love her! She illustrated parts of this book with amazing little pictures! They added so much to the story. I’m totally buying a finished copy of this when it comes out. How can I not support a fellow artist? I can’t wait to see what this looks like when it’s all put together (and not on a Kindle screen).

3. Part of this book takes place in Belize! I love Belize! I was there two summers ago, and it was pretty amazing. It was extremely hot and humid and I was drenched and exhausted, but I loved it! Funny side story: I was held at gunpoint in a tiny little tour boat in the middle of the ocean by several men in the Belizean Coast Guard. The driver of the boat was in some trouble, apparently, and tried to jump out. At one point the tour guide mumbled under her breath, “This is where they kill us.” I’m pretty sure I was not supposed to hear that. Luckily, things got ironed out and we were sent on our way. But OH MAN. What a story, huh? Haha.

4. I loved Rowan. He’s this reformed bad-boy with a travel bug who hops around from destination to destination teaching diving courses and backpacking to hole-in-the-wall hostels where everyone already knows him. He just sounds pretty darn amazing. He’s really mysterious and hardened, but a softy when his walls are torn down. And he’s bookish. Yes please! Some of the banter between him and Bria was hilarious, and the tension between those two had me itching to read more and more about them.

5. The scenery. OH MAN. You can tell Kirsten Hubbard is a travel writer, because the scenery she wrote about was so perfectly described that I could feel the hot sun bearing down on me, the sand between my toes, and the humidity trying to suffocate me. The rainforests and waterfalls and mangroves and Mayan ruins and scenic lakes… I was totally there. This book felt so authentic and realistic. I do think it’s the most well done of all the books I’ve read with a travel element. I could not get enough of these descriptions, and I REALLY hope that Kirsten writes another travel book soon.

6. I loved the slow burn we experience with Bria and Rowan. There is no insta-love here, thank goodness. They start out tolerating one another and gradually move towards a friendship that you can tell is totally going places. It was so sweet and wonderful to read about. They fit so well together, but it takes them a while to fix themselves enough to notice. I loved seeing how they worked through their own problems, and helped each other when they could. They encouraged the best out of each other, which I loved. They were better together than they were apart.

7. Finally, this book brings good things out in me. I’ve got all these amazing goals now, to travel more, to practice my art more, to be spontaneous, to let my hair down and not worry what other people think, to look to the future, to develop other talents, to conquer fears, and to enjoy my life more.

I loved this book. I can’t say enough good things about it, and I feel like my review is extremely inadequate. This is the kind of book that everyone should read. It’s the kind of book that encourages you to take the bull by the horns and go with it. I just felt so refreshed by the end, like I had been the one to go on a whirlwind trip that changed my life. To me, books have always been an escape and this one did the best job at taking me somewhere. I would recommend this to anyone, but read with caution! You’ll end up catching Wanderlove, which I hear takes a whole lot of adventure and self-discovery to find the cure for.


Firelight by Sophie Jordan (Book Review)

February 22, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 7 ★★★★

Firelight by Sophie Jordan (Book Review)Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Series: Firelight #1
Also in this series: Hidden
Published by HarperTEEN on September 7, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 323
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought it!
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.


Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

The story of Jacinda and Will grabbed me from page one and had me reading long into a night I should have spent sleeping instead of reading. I’ve often wondered if my bookishness is detrimental to my health and personal well-being, but I digress! Back to the subject at hand… I’m having a hard time reviewing this book, and I’m not sure why. I’ve written a review probably 5 times already, and I’m still not happy with it. Maybe it’s because the story has a lot in common with other YA Paranormal romances out there. I’m not saying it’s not worth the read, I’m just not sure what I can say about it that’s new, other than the fact that we’re dealing with dragons. I’ll try!

Jacinda’s glowing orange skin and intricate wings are not all she has going for her. All Draki have a special talent. Some can breathe underwater, some can control human minds, and some can fly extremely fast. Jacinda breathes fire—a talent that was thought to have died out long ago before she was discovered. Thus, she is extremely valuable to pride. Things were planned out and set in motion for her to marry the Draki prince, Cassian, and create a ton of little fire-breathers just like herself. This unappealing future, mixed with her rebellious nature, mixed with the fact that she barely came home alive after being tracked and shot by a group of hunters prompted her mother to sneak Jacinda and her non-draki twin sister, Tamra, out of the pride and move to Arizona. Her mother chose Arizona because drakis can’t survive in such dry and barren conditions. Jacinda’s draki would eventually die off just like her mother’s, and they could live normal, safe lives as humans. Jacinda was not ok with this and did everything she could to keep her withering draki alive. Then, she saw Will—one of the hunters she encountered the night her mother forced them to flee. He was the one who stared into her draki eyes that night and let her go, leading his family of hunters away from her. They lock eyes in the hall at school, and an instant connection is made. He ignites the draki within her, and she captivates him for a reason he can’t quite figure out. Even though he’s the one who keeps her draki alive, she has to constantly fight her attraction to him (and resist his to her) and keep her distance. She can never let him know what she is without risking the lives of all those she holds dear. The hunters can never find out their best-kept secret—that draki can take on human form.

I really enjoyed this book! First off, how refreshing is it to finally have the girl be the paranormal one? Yes, there are a few mythical heroines out there, but we all know it’s usually the guy. It was fun to read how a girl deals with being different. Jacinda is SO driven by her emotions. She goes through highs and lows, and she’s always freaking out about everything. She’s not calm, cool, and collected like our mainstream paranormal heroes in other novels. I’m not saying she’s spastic and annoying. She certainly handled things better than I would have. I just enjoyed reading about her inner struggle rather than a guy’s, like I usually do.

This book moved really quickly! The tension built up fast, and I found myself trying to read faster than my brain could handle. There was no lollygagging in this book, and I really enjoyed that about it. I never got bored.

The romance between Will and Jacinda was believable, but maybe not for their age group. I never thought of them as high school juniors. They have a very mature relationship, which I was happy about, as I have a hard time enjoying the whiny teenage romances. Even though the romance did not seem realistic for their ages, the high school life was pretty real to me. I remember when I moved to a new high school, I struggled with fitting in. I was picked on. Jacinda went through the same motions I did, and I felt for her and could relate to how she was feeling. She was a total fish out of water, with only one friend who wasn’t even really a friend—more like a person to sit with and talk to. High school’s really hard, and Jacinda dealt with it.

Unfortunately, there were not a lot of characters to like in this book. There was an overabundance of villains: the alpha of her pride (who wanted her for selfish reasons), her mom (who lied to her frequently, and tried to kill off an important part of Jacinda), her sister (who should have tried to be more supportive of Jacinda’s situation), Will’s family (who were complete and total jerks to Will, and almost perverts towards Jacinda), the school bullies (who tried to make her life a living hell, and even attacked her). I’m not used to only liking the two main people. I guess the author chose to do this in order to emphasize the odds against Will and Jacinda, but I really wanted to like more people!

I loved that Jacinda was so true to herself, against all these odds. She didn’t just sit back and let her mother get what she wanted (a draki-free Jacinda). They argued and fought all the time. Her mom kept so many secrets from her, and then when she finally told Jacinda the truth, she wasn’t even nice about it. This woman is just not a good mother figure—and I found her character to be a bit hard to believe sometimes. I know she was trying to protect Jacinda, but she rarely ever showed any compassion, empathy, or even love.

For the most part, I enjoyed the writing style. Several reviewers have mentioned that the book was laced consistently with sentence fragments, which got rather annoying. I totally agree. This is definitely not a book for people looking for pristine literary writing. I had to re-read and re-think some of the passages, just because my mind was not following the choppy writing style. It helped to add to the suspense, but it detracted a bit from everything else. Other than that, the action scenes were done very well and the author’s descriptions left little to be desired. She gave me enough information to be able to picture everything in my mind, but not so much that my mind couldn’t take a few liberties and allow my creative juices to fill in the gaps.

Regardless of a few complaints, I loved the premise, the story, the character development of both Jacinda and Will, the fact that Jacinda is such a likeable heroine, the descriptive passages that painted pictures in my mind, the fast-paced storyline that kept my eyes glued to the pages into the wee hours of the morning, and the fact that now I think dragons are sexy.


Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine (Book Review)

February 21, 2012 Book Review 5 ½

Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine (Book Review)Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine
Published by Gotham on January 10, 2010
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Memoir
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Birthday present
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
Most young girls dream of becoming a princess. But unlike most girls, Jerramy Fine never grew out of it. Strangely drawn to the English royal family since she was a toddler, Jerramy finds Peter Phillips (the Queen's oldest grandson) in a royal family tree when she is only six years old, and decides immediately that he will be her future husband.

But growing up with hippie parents (who gave her a boy's name!) in the middle of a rodeo-loving farm town makes finding her prince a much bigger challenge than Jerramy ever bargained for. She spends her childhood writing love-letters to Peter c/o Buckingham Palace, and years later, when her sense of destiny finally brings her to London, she must navigate the murky waters of English social circles, English etiquette and English dating. Along the way, she meets Princess Anne (Peter's mother), befriends Earl Spencer, and parties with the Duchess of York. Yet life is not the Hugh Grant movie she hoped it would be. Her flatmates are lunatics, London is expensive, and English boys can be infuriating. But just when she thinks it might be time to give up and return to America, Peter magically appears in her life.

As soon as I found this book while browsing on Goodreads, I was extremely excited to read it, and I’m sure you can understand why! It sounds like so much fun. Jerramy is a funny writer, and some of her stories are pretty entertaining to read. I’m going to get a little critical for a minute, though, and this is hard because I do not want to offend the author. In fiction, if you don’t agree with how a character is portrayed that’s ok. Because they are imaginary. In the case with non-fiction and memoirs, though, the characters are real people. Writing a memoir is brave because you open yourself and your world up to criticism from outsiders, and there were certain things about Jerramy’s story that rubbed me the wrong way. I think they are worth mentioning, though, because they will help readers decide whether or not this book is the right fit for them.

Jerramy complains about her parents, makes fun of them, talks about how they embarrass her to no end, and how she is convinced she was switched at birth. When she finally moved away to college, she could not wait to leave them behind in the dust. They were so low-class, compared to her. That made me sad, even though I could understand where she was coming from. Yes, they were eccentric hippies with skewed views and weird ways… but they were her parents, and whether or not they sent her a monogrammed tray for rolling joints, and told her to try opium in her home before she went to college so she’d know how she reacted… they were still her parents, and you could tell they loved her. I wish she had been a little more respectful in her writing about them.

When Jerramy finally got to London, she drank and partied her way into the most prestigious social circles, one hangover at a time. She couldn’t even remember the names of some of the guys she made out with with. At one point the guy she was on a date with knocked on the bathroom door to check and see if she was ok. Before she could open the door, she had to shove another guy out the window. Of course, people are free to make their own choices but I got a bit tired of reading about these encounters.

Regardless of my issues with the book, Jerramy never, ever gave up on what was important to her. No matter how far-fetched it seemed, no matter how insane her friends thought she was for hanging posters of the royal family in her teenage room, and no matter how many people tried to stand in her way, she never gave up. I have to give her props for her determination. She lost friends along the way, her grades in school suffered, she went into major debt, she had her heart broken by a lot of the guys she met along the way, and she cried a lot, but she never gave up. I don’t know if many people would have been that persistent. I learned a ton about English culture and the royal family.

I totally envy some of the things Jerramy got to do along the way. I mean, who else got to spend New Year’s Eve 1999 in India and ring in the millennium at the royal palace there? If I remember correctly, I had an awful cold and spent the night in bed watching a ballroom competition on TV. Oh yay. She got to live in London! I love all things Europe, so I was quite envious of that. She went to a lot of parties and events that sounded so glamorous. She did meet members of the royal family, and eventually Peter himself. No, that was not a spoiler. It even says it on the back of the book. So, not only was she stubborn, but she succeeded! Not many people get to live out their dreams. I think that’s pretty lucky.

Overall, if I take away anything from this book, it’s hope. Hope that I can achieve all the things I wish for myself if I work hard and press on, even when obstacles appear. While this book was not for me, I’d still recommend it to people looking for memoirs about college-aged characters, or those interested in England and the royal family.


In My Mailbox (#1)

February 19, 2012 Uncategorized 25

Hi guys! This is my very first IMM, and I’m so excited! I came across some wonderful books this week, and I’m excited to share them all with you! Vlogs terrify me, so let’s see how this turns out!

(Haha… The girl in a Long, Long Sleep is not a benefactor… She didn’t give anyone money!! She’s a long-lost heir to something… Haha… benefactor. Silly me! And WOW. I am pale! Haha. I’d blame it on winter, but I’m that pale all year, so I can’t!)

 

Purchased:

Valentine’s Presents (From my Mom): 

For Review:

Won:

I’d just like to thank all of you for supporting my blog! I love all the comments, e-mails, Tweets, Goodreads chats, and shout-outs on your blogs! I participated in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon this week, and came away with some awesome new blogs to follow, some new friends, and a lot of warm fuzzies! Thanks to all of you who mentioned me, and came by to spread the love. I wish I could have participated more, but I was passing a kidney stone… Lame. But I love all of you! I’ll see you around the blogosphere, and can’t wait to get to know you better. :)

Now… what did you get this week? :) Link me to your posts and I’ll be sure to stop by! Or… tell me in the comments. :)  Thanks for stopping by!


Partials by Dan Wells (Book Review)

February 17, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 10 ★★★★

Partials by Dan Wells (Book Review)Partials by Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence #1
Published by HarperTEEN on February 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 468
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

I was pretty excited to read this book! As a result of my massive dystopia overdose recently, my expectations were extremely high for Partials. Unfortunately, it paled in comparison to the other dystopias I’ve read over the last month, like Under the Never Sky and Incarnate. And I would not compare it to The Hunger Games like the book’s summary does. Partials was given some pretty big shoes to fill, and going in with thoughts of The Hunger Games proved to cause a letdown. I’m not saying this book wasn’t good. I’m very intrigued, and plan to read the next book. My advice to you would be to take the book at face value and not expect it to be as good or as great as a book that pretty much knocked the genre out of the ball park. I’m going to break up my review and bold the highlights, just in case you’re a skimmer. :)

1. It took quite a while (like half the book) to build up to something really on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting. There’s some minor action and a lot of science talk in the beginning of the book, and pages and pages of thoughts and explanations with not a lot of character interaction. Like I said, though, about halfway through it things really pick up and I had a hard time putting it down from that point on. I’m not going to say much about the plot because I think the story is more exciting if you discover it on your own. There was a few surprises nestled in there, that were very eye-opening and interesting to learn about.

2. We are kept guessing a lot. Who do I trust? The partials, or the humans? I kept jumping back and forth from one to the other. I felt sorry for the partials. They were engineered for a selfish purpose (to help the humans win a war), and thrown out to pasture when they were no longer needed. They were essentially abandoned with no way to make a life for themselves. I’d hate the humans too, if that happened to me. And then I felt sorry for the humans because their venture backfired, and most of their species died as a result. They both had reasons to hate and deceive each other, but they really needed to get along in order to survive. It was hard to know who was right. And on top of that, there’s a third group of people: The Voice. They are a group of humans who rebelled against the Senate for establishing the Hope Act, which forced all girls 18 and older to be pregnant pretty much all the time and produce as many babies as possible, in the hopes that one of them would be immune to the virus. In 11 years, not one baby had survived. That’s a lot of death. So really, I felt bad for everyone, found myself siding with each group at different times, and was never really convinced who was right! It was pretty entertaining. 

3. My favorite character was Samm (a partial). He actually seemed the most humane and the most realistic. He risked the most in the hope of finding answers. I liked that even though he was engineered to be an emotionless fighting machine, he seemed to have a conscience and a thought process that was extremely human. I found myself rooting for the partials more than the humans, because I felt it was not their fault. The humans made them this way. But again, I was having a hard time sticking to one side. Haha. I liked Kira, but she was a little too self-destructive for me. I liked her boyfriend, Marcus as well. I would have enjoyed getting to know him better. The supporting characters were well done, but forgettable after a while.

4. The end was action-packed. I really, really liked the last 10-or-so chapters. It was definitely my favorite part of the book. Dan has some great suspense scenes, and his writing style was gripping. I went from casually reading when I had time, to staying up until 4:00 AM and reading until I could not keep my eyes open.

5. There were a lot of questions raised throughout the book, but Dan did a great job of wrapping some of the major ones up. There was still a cliff-hanger ending, but it could have been so much worse! Right up to the end, I was biting my nails. New crazy things kept happening, and I kept worrying the book was going to end right then and there. Then I’d click the “next page” button on my Kindle, and I’d see I had at least one more page to lessen the impact of the ending. You will be satisfied with the ending, but curious about where the next book will take you.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. You need to take it for what it is, and not go into it with grand expectations. You also need to be patient and read a ways to get to the good parts. It was very a multidimensional story, and I appreciate that. It gives young adult fiction a good name. The plot was complex even though the original premise of the story is simple: humanity is becoming extinct. The characters were likable, although I never grew close to any of them. Dan Wells’s writing was enjoyable to read. He gave lots of details, and created some exciting, action-packed scenes. Fans of post-apocalyptic dystopians will enjoy this, and crave book #2. I definitely think it’s worth the read, and will appeal to many audiences.


Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (Book Review)

February 15, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (Book Review)Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Published by Point on June 1, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 292
Format: Hardcover
Source: Birthday present
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4 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

I’ve been a fan of mermaid romance novels for quite a while now, and have read many of them. There’s so much an author can do when they are talking about a setting that is so mysterious and unknown to land dwellers like us! That’s why I decided to read Sea Change. It’s not necessarily a mermaid book, but it does deal with mythological themes centered around the ocean. While it was not what I was expecting, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the story.

Let me start by saying that the cover is beautiful! It’s even prettier in person than it is on screen because it shimmers! This mystical story of young love lacks a bit in plot, but makes up for it with charm and magic. Miranda is a very likable, relate-able character. She’s been hurt by people in her not-so-distant past, and is trying to heal during her summer on Selkie Island. She’s warned on the ferry of mystical water creatures and is told to avoid the native islanders because they are “different.” Right when she arrives, she knows this island is unique. She thinks nothing of it, but begins to understand as she explores her aunt’s house and the island itself.

She’s a bit of an odd man out on the island, which is full of rich and snobby socialites. The first night she’s there, she’s invited to an heiress party (she’s an heiress since she inherited her aunt’s estate). It’s stuffy, and the “friends” she makes care mostly about money, fashion, and getting in bed with a hot, young, rich, preppy boy.  Miranda’s not that kind of girl. She’s a brainy good girl from the big city and has to work to survive. That’s another reason I like her. She’s real. In her quest for getting away from the snobs, she goes to a marine center on the island. There, she meets the mysterious Leo. He’s extremely attractive, and someone Miranda feels she would never have a chance with. He latches on to her, though, and they form a very sweet bond that’s surrounded by mystery and intrigue. They have to sneak around since he’s a native, and the heirs and heiresses of the island shun natives. I really liked Leo. He’s down-to-earth, honest, caring, chivalrous, and sweet. It’s no secret either that he’s a very different kind of person.

While the story does not have a complex, fast-paced plot, it is quite intriguing. The reader is given different lessons on mythology and history. You are kept guessing, along with Miranda, until the very end. Unfortunately, I was still guessing after the book was over. I doubt there will be a sequel, but there certainly is room for one. I would have enjoyed learning more about the mythology that lives on Selkie Island, but perhaps we’re meant to make that up in our own minds. The descriptions of the island and the houses were beautiful.

My only real complaint was that the story took so long to build up, that the ending was quite rushed. Miranda and Leo’s story went from casual to intense rather quickly. There was plenty of room to slow it down and make it seem more realistic. All in all, though, this was a very sweet book with a lot of southern charm and pure, innocent love. I think it’s the perfect beach read… or the perfect man-it’s-so-cold-outside-I-wish-it-were-summer read if you can’t wait for summer!


Bookish Finds: Happy "I Love Books" Day!

February 14, 2012 Bookish Finds 4

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Bookish Finds is a feature here at That Artsy Reader Girl, where I highlight awesome bookish things I come across during my exciting life.

 

 

 

 

All you bookish people out there (and your significant others who rarely see you without a book) will understand how truly huge a statement like this is! If I ever find a man I love more than books, I will snatch him up immediately! On this Valentine’s I Love Books Day, though, I will be curled up with Mr. Book of the Day and some chocolate, and relaxing! What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Oh, and I pretty much think you’re the greatest ever for stopping by today!

(Buy this handmade card (or choose from a Ton of others) from Storeyshop on Etsy)