Friday, December 30, 2011

Perfect (Impulse #2), by Ellen Hopkins

Barnes & Noble

Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there. Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling
Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.

 A wonderful companion piece to Impulse told from four other points of view.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Impulse (Impulse #1), by Ellen Hopkins

Barnes & Noble

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

What can I say about Ellen Hopkins that I haven't already said before? She is brilliant and I can't get enough of her work. She is not afraid to tackle tough issues faced by teenagers and her writing is sublime.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Noise, by Darin Bradley

Barnes & Noble

This haunting debut from a brilliant new voice is sure to be as captivating as it is controversial, a shocking look at the imminent collapse of American civilization—and what will succeed it.

In the aftermath of the switch from analog to digital TV, an anarchic movement known as Salvage hijacks the unused airwaves. Mixed in with the static’s random noise are dire warnings of the imminent economic, political, and social collapse of civilization—and cold-blooded lessons on how to survive the fall and prosper in the harsh new order that will inevitably arise from the ashes of the old.

Hiram and Levi are two young men, former Scouts and veterans of countless Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Now, on the blood-drenched battlefields of university campuses, shopping malls, and gated communities, they will find themselves taking on new identities and new moralities as they lead a ragtag band of hackers and misfits to an all-but-mythical place called Amaranth, where a fragile future waits to be born.

My thoughts are as jumbled as the plot of this novel. There was a lot of back-and-forth between previous events and the present time, which normally doesn't bother me, but it made this story difficult to follow.

If you don't know your Biblical and Mythological history, you're going to be lost. As I am a scholar of neither, I had to look up several of the references made.

Bradley has a unique way of weaving a story together, and if I hadn't been so confused at times, I probably would have enjoyed it more. That being said, it's a compelling read about a social collapse. Shockingly violent at times, but it IS dystopian fiction, so it's not unexpected.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3), by Amanda Hocking

Barnes & Noble

The final book in the Trylle Trilogy..

With a war looming on the horizon, Wendy's fate seems sealed.But everything she sacrificed might be in vain if she can't save the ones she loves. Her whole life has been leading up to this, and it's all coming to an end.

The final installment of the Trylle trilogy was not as intriguing as the first two books. It was very short and rushed. A disappointing finale to a decent series. 

Characters that played an integral part of the storyline in the first two books suddenly disappeared without explanation. Strained relationships became happy-happy-joy-joy within a matter of paragraphs. Wonderful relationships fizzled for no apparent reason.

There weren't as many grammatical errors in this book, but the plot left much to be desired.


Spoiler after the jump.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2), by Amanda Hocking

Barnes & Noble

When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

Hmmm.  I'm not sure what I think about this.  Still a compelling story, but starting to annoy me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Bible for Dummies, by Jeffrey Geoghegan and Michael M. Homan

Barnes & Noble

Ninety percent of Americans own a copy of the Bible, and while it's the most widely read book, it's also the least understood. Regardless of your religion, understanding the Bible brings much of Western art, literature, and public discourse into greater focus--from Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting to the Wachowski brothers' The Matrix movies.  People have historically turned to religion to deal with tragedy and change, and with the right insight, the Bible can be an accessible, helpful guide to life's big questions.

The Bible For Dummies appeals to people of all faiths, as well as those who don't practice any particular religion, by providing interfaith coverage of the entire Bible and the often fascinating background information that makes the Bible come alive. You'll find answers to such questions as: Where did the Bible come from? Who wrote the Bible? How is the Bible put together?

Follow the history of the Bible from its beginning thousands of years ago as tattered scrolls to its status as the bestseller of all time.
The Bible For Dummies covers these topics and more: Ten people in the Bible you should know; The Hebrew Bible; The Apocrypha's hidden treasures; What's new about the New Testament; Israel's wisdom, literature, and love poetry; The Bible's enduring influence; The prophets: more than fortunetellers.

Discover the world's all-time bestseller in an entirely new light. Whether you're interested in broadening your spiritual horizons, uncovering the symbolism of Western culture, or gaining a deeper understanding of the book you grew up reading,
The Bible For Dummies has all the information you need to navigate this ancient and fascinating book.

Growing up in a non-religious household, I didn't have a need to read the Bible. Unfortunately, that also meant that I didn't understand the influence it had on art and literature. In all honesty, the Bible scares me: it's a huge book, with a lot of information, written in old language.

I was thrilled when I found this Dummies book! The authors do a remarkable job providing clear, concise information without trying to convert you to one religion or another.

My head is overflowing with Bible trivia now, and I can guarantee that I will use this book as a reference in the future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1), by Amanda Hocking

Barnes & Noble

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

I initially purchased Hocking's Trylle Trilogy books because she found great success as an Indie author and was then signed with a major publisher.

The book started out strong, with a female character who didn't take lip from anyone. Unfortunately, like in so many other YA romances, the protagonist quickly loses her sense of self once she falls in love. That annoys me to no end. Grrr. Her backbone seemed to come back at the end of this book, so there's hope for books 2 & 3.

I think that Hocking is quite talented, though her writing needs some strengthening. There was a lot of "telling" rather than "showing" the story and the pacing went from slow to fast, slow to fast, rinse and repeat. There were a handful of grammatical errors that made me cringe, but I can't fault her too much since she's self-published. Working with a professional publishing house should help her find her voice.

I will read the rest of the Trilogy because the story is compelling and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens.