Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Published: June 7, 2011
Pages: 352
My Rating: 4.7/5
Misc.: --
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Synopsis taken from goodreads.
My Review:
First off, let me just say that the creepy vintage pictures throughout the book were amazing. I thought they really added to the story. When I bought the book, I was really excited for it and seriously considered only reading it when it was still light outside (I mean really. Just look at the cover. Creepy.). The book did live up to my expectations, and I'm happy to say only parts of it were creepy-ish.

So let's start with the characters. I liked the main character Jacob. He was down to earth, and generally a nice guy. But there wasn't really anything too special about him at first. He just seemed kinda uhh, plain. So it was nice to see his character develop into something more. And I also loved his relationship with his grandfather. I loved how his grandfather trusted him the most out of everyone in his family. His grandfather was definitely the most in-depth and mysterious character in the book. I was always waiting to learn about his past and what happened that lead to his present. And I loved his stories about the Peculiar Children.

That being said, the plot was also really well done. It starts off as a mystery with Jacob travelling to the island where his grandfather grew up to get more information about what had happened while he lived there. From there, it escalates to a much, much bigger adventure. I cant really say much without giving away the mystery, but it was very well planned out. The writing was very clear and funny, and Ransom Riggs did an amazing job tying in the pictures to the story. The book was pretty fast paced, with the exception of the beginning, which was kinda slow in my opinion. But overall, it flowed nicely.

The one thing that stopped me from giving the book a 5/5 rating was the ending. When I read it, I thought it was a standalone novel, but now I've heard rumors of a second book which I'm still not entirely certain about. Anyways, if there is a second book, the ending would make much more sense. It's not that it ends on a cliffhanger (it doesn't), it's just that as I was reading it, I felt like it just stopped in the middle of a chapter. There were a few loose ends, but other than that the ending just felt abrupt. I still think the book would've made a fine standalone, but the ending just left me a little bit confused.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery and adventure. Or even anyone willing to try something new. This book isn't likely to be one I'll forget anytime soon. In fact, I may even re-read it when I get the chance. Overall, it was a great read.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm Back!

I actually got back from vacation on Friday, but with the whole getting used to the time-zone thing again, and then the whole Hurricane Irene situation, and then with the losing power incident this was the earliest I could get back to the blog. Sorry guys :( But I'm finally back and I will be posting again!

I know I said I'd try to post while I was on vacation, but it turns out it was a lot harder than I expected to find internet. So that didn't really get to happen. But now that I'm back I have a couple of posts lined up, so get ready for those. I'm excited to be back :D

Oh, and one more thing. School is starting in a week, so I'm probably going to be a little less active seeing as how it's my junior year. But I promise I will still post as often as I can. Which will hopefully be often. That being said, I'm off to read the three summer reading books I've been procrastinating on. Wish me luck...

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Hey guys! Just wanted to say that my plane finally arrived and that as of now, I'm on vacation. But this also means that I don't get internet a lot over here, so I wont be able to post as much. I'll be away until August 26th. When I get back, I'll get back to posting as regular. So sorry in advance if I'm not responding to comments or following people back right now. I promise I'll get back to doing that as soon as I get home!

See you guys in a few weeks :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire & Update

I'll start out with the update because it's fairly short. So here it is:
I'm going on vacation tomorrow (err, today? It's 1 a.m. lol). I'm going to Europe to visit some family members for  two weeks. We're only bringing one computer and we might not have internet all the time, so I'm going to be MIA for a bit. I'm bringing a lot of books with me, so when I can get on I'll post up reviews for them. But yeah, from the 11th to the 26th (or 25th, not sure yet) I'm not going to be able to post that much. But I'll have a lot of reviews up when I get back.

Okay, now on to the review of Hourglass:

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
Publisher: Egmont USA
Published: June 14, 2011
Pages: 397
My Rating: 4/5
Misc.: First in Hourglass trilogy
One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

Synopsis taken from goodreads.
My Review:
I really liked this book. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on this book, so I wasn't sure on how I would feel about it, but I really liked it. There was a bit of instalove (just a bit), but for once, I honestly didn't mind it. And that is saying something. I loved the characters, and I thought the plot was very well planned out.

I read this book in under a day. And seeing how it is basically 400 pages, this never happens. So yes, this book was fast paced. It follows the main character, Emerson, as she slowly learns why she is able to see people from the past and what this means for her. She meets Michael, who helps her learn to accept the visions and somehow is able to answer her questions about who she is.

This brings me to the characters. I loved the characters. I loved how there was no back stabbing best friend and her brother/guardian was very realistic. Emerson and her brother have that sibling love/hate relationship, but as her brother is also her legal guardian, he did have parental qualities to him as well. He was probably my favorite character aside from the main characters. And then there was the romance in this book. This book left me smiling like an idiot when I read all the romantic parts (this rarely ever happens, I swear). And then the villains. They were a tad bit classic villain, but still. You love to hate them.

The plot was well thought out, too. When I first started reading the book, there was no way I could have guessed what would have happened. But the mystery and the pacing pulled me forward. I can't really say much more about the plot than what the Goodreads summary says because then I might spoil something. But it was really well planned. However, the reason I gave this book a 4/5 instead of a 5/5 was because of the end. I just felt it could have been done better. There was just some... unnecessary complications in my opinion. Again, I can't really say what they are because that would be spoilery.

Overall, I would recommend this book. I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did, so I'm glad I picked it up. It might not be for everyone, but I'd say give it a try. Now I just can't wait for the second installment.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox #2

IMM is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Here's what I got this week:

Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Just finished it, review's gonna be up soon!)
Hereafter by Tara Hudson
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

What did you guys get?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: March 22, 2011
Pages: 358
My Rating: 3/5
Misc.: First in Chemical Garden trilogy

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive.

Synopsis taken from goodreads.
My Review:
Wither is Lauren DeStefano's debut novel, and I must say, for a first novel it is impressive. It takes place in a dystopian world where a "virus" has spread, causing females to live to the age of 20 and males to the age of 25. The story revolves around Rhine, who is kidnapped by Gatherers and sold into a marriage, and is struggling to find a way to escape and go back home. 

I love that even though dystopian is a huge trend right now, DeStefano manages to find a way to stay original. I love the premise of the world, and I was kept wondering if anyone was ever going to find a cure to the virus. I just didn't find some aspects of the world and how people reacted to certain things believable. That being said, in this world, girls are kidnapped very often. But I noticed that nobody really tried to stop this. Huh? So when Rhine gets kidnapped (this happens before the first chapter, not spoilery, I promise) I was hoping for more of an explanation of how it happened. It is explained later on, but not really in much detail.

Another thing, this book took me about a week to read, which is not usual for me. It's not that the book was slow paced, it just wasn't fast paced. When I put it down, I didn't feel the need to immediately pick it up again. Though, what kept me going was the characters. I loved how developed each character was. Even the side characters that only show up a couple of times in the book had a distinct personality. And I love how the main characters were flawed. Rhine sometimes lost her way. But then again, nobody's perfect. My favorite character, however, was Jenna. She is one of Rhine's sister wives, and I was amazed at her strength, loyalty, and determination.

The plot was okay. It was laid out pretty much from the beginning of the book. I just wish we get to see more happening in the rest of the series. Though, I love Lauren DeStefano's writing style. She creates beautiful sentences, and the book flowed nicely. Aside from the characters, the writing style is definitely my favorite part of the book.

So yes, the world is unique, but at certain points, not very believable. It wasn't very fast paced either. But I think the characters and writing style saved this book. I wouldn't recommend this book if you're looking for something with a lot of action in it, but if you're looking for some sci-fi  or a little romance, give this book a try. The sequel, Fever, comes out in February 2012.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Friday Memes (3)

This week's question:

Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).

First of all, one that I'm sure many are going to mention, is the Harry Potter series. They brought a magical world with them, and I allowed myself to get lost in it. JK Rowling gave me something to look forward to every time she released a new book. Harry Potter has been, and still is, my childhood. Ever since then, I've been looking for more books that allow me to get lost in the world the author has created.

Another book would be Looking for Alaska by John Green. While Harry Potter got me into reading, Looking for Alaska introduced me to YA. This book is truly amazing. I don't know how else to describe it. Whenever I felt sad, I would pick up this book just to re read Pudge's story and experience the raw emotion in this book. The writing is beautiful. The story is beautiful. I think this will forever be one of my favorite books.

Lastly, there's A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I devoured all thirteen books and was sad to see it's end. As a kid, I just loved how the author was able to weave himself into the stories. I followed Violet, Klaus, and Sunny's story until the very end, and I hated Count Olaf with a passion. I think this is the only series that has ever come close to meaning this much to me as Harry Potter did. Harry Potter and the Series of Unfortunate Events marked my childhood.

Book Blogger Hop(Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books)
This week's question is:
“What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?”

I can't decide between Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I've been wanting to read those books ever since I first heard about them.

(hosted by Ginger at GReads)
This week's question:
Taking it Personal: Which books have effected you on a personal level and lingered in your mind long after you closed the pages?

Pretty much same as the Follow Friday answer. Looking for Alaska by John Green and Harry Potter by JK Rowling. They're the reason I started reading

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

What I'm waiting on:
Name: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.
Why I want to read it:
I've heard so many good reviews on this book. The story sounds so unique and refreshing. Plus, look at that cover! Is it not gorgeous?! I've been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Published: December 22, 2009
Pages: 372
My Rating: 3.8/5
Misc.: First in The Dark Divine trilogy

A Prodigal Son 

A Dangerous Love

A Deadly Secret

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. 

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother. 

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

Taken from goodreads.

My Review:
Honestly, I thought this book was going to be much worse than it was. I bought it a year ago, but I only picked it up recently, and when I did, I wasn't as excited for it. So when I actually read it, it exceeded my expectations. I was expecting a book filled with stereotypes, insta-love, and completely predictable. I'm happy to say I was wrong, though there was a bit of insta-love.

Grace, the main character, gets thrown back into her past when she finds out that a boy from her childhood is back in town. Daniel's return sparks all kind of interest around town, but the worst is her family's, who warn her to stay away from him. I think my favorite part of the book was waiting and trying to figure out what happened in the past between Daniel and Grace's brother, Jude, that caused him to leave. And when I found out what it was, I was shocked and left needing more.

The characters were okay. I was happy to see that Grace was more strong-willed than most female main characters these days, but I didn't always agree with her decisions. But still, I found her a likeable main character, and I loved that I could connect with her through her love of art. It was also fun to watch the side characters grow. I loved Grace's best friend. You could see her character developing throughout the book. And watching Daniel's character open up was fun too. And I loved a lot of the Grace & Daniel scenes. ;)

The writing style was also okay. Nothing really stood out too much for me, but it definitely was not bad. The book flowed nicely and was not slow paced. I even had the story on my mind for a bit after finishing it. That said, no, the book was not completely mind blowingly amazing, but it exceeded my expectations and is definitely worth picking up. I can't wait to continue the story with The Lost Saint.