Wednesday, June 23

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

What I loved about Stephenie Meyer's novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, was that while reading, I instantly wanted to open up Eclipse and compare Bree and Bella's descriptions of one another. So that is what I did :]

"It was her-the human I'd been hunting just a few minutes ago. The scent my whole body had been focused toward. The sweet, wet scent of the most delicious blood I'd ever tracked. My mouth and throat fell like they were on fire.
I tried wildly to hold on to my reason- to focus on the fact that Jasper was just waiting for me to jump up again so that he could kill me- but only part of me could do it. I felt like I was about to pull into two halves trying to keep myself here.
The human named Bella stared at me with stunned brown eyes. Looking at her made it worse. I could see the blood flushing through her thin skin. I tried to look anywhere else, but my eyes kept circling back to her...
The girl met my stare, but her expression was so different from what it should have been. Though I could feel that my lips were curled back from my teeth, though I trembled with the effort to stop myself from springing at her, she did not look afraid of me. Instead she seemed fascinated. It almost looked like she wanted to speak to me-like she had a question she wanted me to answer."

"The girl was curled into a small ball beside the flames, her arms wrapped around her legs. She was very young. Younger than me-she looked maybe fifteen, dark-haired and slight. Her eyes were focused on me, and the irises were a shocking, brilliant red. Much brighter than Riley's, almost glowing. They wheeled wildly, out of control...
After a second of fruitless searching, my gaze crept back to the young female vampire.  She was still watching me, her eyes half-mad.
I met the girl's stare for a long moment. Chin-length dark hair framed her face, which was alabaster pale. It was hard to tell if her features were beautiful, twisted as they were by rage and thirst. The feral red eyes were dominant- hard to look away from. She glared at me viciously, shuddering and writhing every few seconds.
I stared at her, mesmerized, wondering if  I were looking into a mirror of my future."

The brilliance of this story is how Meyer could take a seemingly unimportant character, such as Bree, and create her whole world that was as believable and mesmerizing as that of Bella's. It was really interesting to see the dark side of vampires for a change, and still be engrossed in the story so much that the different dynamics of the red eyed versus the yellow eyed was not an issue. Even though readers know how this tragic tale will end, one still cannot put this yet another Meyer masterpiece down. And, I must admit, I almost liked Bree's voice better than Bella's. I know, shocking, but it was a nice change of narrator.

All in all, a definite must-read for Twilight fans.

Tuesday, June 22


One of my all time favorite books, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, is coming out in theaters in August! I am beyond excited. I was absolutely obsessed with this book in eighth grade, and I even wrote Draanen a letter expressing my love for the characters Juli and Bryce. Basically, this short novel is about how childhood relationship could turn into something more. Juli is smitten with Bryce at first sight but he cannot stand her. But then everything changes, and Bryce flips. Their alternating voices create a unique spin on the narration of the same, hilarious events that the two experience, creating well rounded characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. When Wendelin Van Draanen answered my letter, she said-

"I've been asked by a lot of readers to please write a sequel, but I don't plan to and here's why: If I write a sequel, you'll stop pondering, 'What will Juli/Bryce do?' when what I'm hoping is that you'll apply Juli and Bryce's lessons to your own life and live out the happy ending. That may sound a bit strange, but as you enter into friendships and relationships of your own, think back on Juli and Bryce and remember what they went through. It will make it easier to do the right thing."

So if you are looking for a cute romantic comedy that takes you back to the crushes of junior high, then please read Flipped. I am definitely going to re-read before the movie comes out :]

Shiver is the new Twilight

Honestly, I have been avoiding the whole YA paranormal frenzy since the Twilight epidemic. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of the Cullen clan and the Bella-Edward-Jacob triangle, but the teen fad has turned me off a bit from the series. Anyhow, I saw Shiver at Barnes and Noble and fell in love with the cover. I did not even read the description on the back. Instead, I wrote the title down, requested it from the library, and picked it up a week later. Now, six days have passed and I have finished reading it- yes I know that took a while but I am a college student and two jobs are needed in order to pay tuition, which does not leave a lot of reading time unfortunately.

Anyways, I am still in awe. 

Publisher's Weekly says- "For years, Grace has been fascinated by the yellow-eyed wolf that saved her from its pack when she was a child. Sam, bitten by a wolf as a boy, is that wolf. Long obsessed with each other at a distance, they finally meet after a wolf hunt (inspired by the apparent death of a local teen) sends a wounded and temporarily human Sam into Grace's arms. Their young love is facilitated by Grace's hands-off parents Once upon a time, I would've leaped at the rare opportunity of curling up with Mom on the couch. But now, it sort of felt like too little, too late, Grace muses), but threatened by two linked crises: the fact that Sam will soon lose the ability to become human and the instability of a new lycanthrope. Stiefvater skillfully increases the tension throughout; her take on werewolves is interesting and original while her characters are refreshingly willing to use their brains to deal with the challenges they face."

Maggie Stiefvater's magical prose is glittering, poetic, and musical, creating a romantic tone that all readers can appreciate. I was pulled in by the first paragraph:

"I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. They were licking me, biting me, worrying at my body, pressing in. Their huddled bodies blocked what little heat the sun offered. Ice glistened on their ruffs and their breath made opaque shapes that hung in the air around us. The musky smell of their coats made me think of wet dog and burning leaves, pleasant and terrifying. Their tongues melted my skin; their careless teeth ripped at my sleeves and snagged through my hair, pushed against my collarbone, the pulse at my neck.

I could have screamed, but I didn't. I could have fought but I didn't. I just lay there and let it happen, watching the winter-white sky go gray above me."

The whole book's narrative is breathtaking, lyrical, and beautiful. Stiefavter alternates between Grace and Sam, creating a balance between their two voices and a rounded point of view for the story. Parts of the book were a bit predictable, but while reading, it did not bother me because of my fascination with the vivid descriptions and vibrant diction throughout. Beware, Shiver did end on a cliffhanger, so one must read the sequel- Linger, review coming soon since I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Sunday, June 20

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren based on Alea´s idea at Pop Culture Junkie . In IMM, bloggers report what books they have bought, borrowed, swapped, etc. that week. I will be posting my own In My Mailbox bi-weekly, so enjoy and leave a comment!

  1. Looking for Alaska- John Green
  2. Shiver- Maggie Stiefvater
  3. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner- Stephanie Meyer
  4. Heartless- Sara Shepard
  5. House Rules- Jodi Picoult
Have you read these books or reviewed them on your blog? Let me know and leave a comment below! :]

Friday, June 18

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In the dystopian novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, the village that Mary has lived in all her life is surrounded by a forest of fear and death, occupied by countless undead beings, who survive on the flesh of the villagers. This is the only place that Mary has ever known, full of ciaos, tragedy, and obedience, which is ruled by the Sisterhood, who control everything from marriage to death. While the villagers follow their religious leaders blindly, Mary questions the world around her, challenging the so-called truths that she was told, and begins to reveal the secrets of this paranormal society. When the fence around the village is breached and the undead conquer, will Mary find the answers she has been searching for?

I was a bit hesitant to read this book, I must admit. But after reading this review at College Candy, I decided to give Carrie Ryan's debut novel a try. I am not much of a zombie lover, but the dystopia feel of this book had me hooked. It was full of mysteries and secrets, all of which that I wanted to uncover. The depth of Mary's character was a surprise, as well as the intricate relationship between her and Travis, her friend's betrothed. By the end of this novel however, I was not content with the meager answers that Ryan provided to explain the undead's existence and the end of the modern world. So with a lack of an explanation at the end, I was overall disappointed by this book. Give it a try and let me know what you think in a comment below!

Wednesday, June 16

Sarah's Key

In the "New York Times" Bestseller, Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay explores the horror of the Holocaust with an original and modern twist. This historical novel revolves around two different story lines- ten-year-old Sarah, who is taken with her parents by the French police to a concentration camp in 1942 and Julia, an American journalist living in Paris in 2002. Their paths merge as Julia investigates the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup for its 60th anniversary. This unknown piece of French history is startling, morally challenging, and especially heartbreaking. Rosnay completely captures the hatred of that time, and well as the utter disbelief of the tragedy's victims. When the French police come to arrest Sarah and her family, the young girl desperately tries to protect her younger brother by locking him a cupboard- their special hiding place, and promises to return. Julia becomes determined to discover the secrets revolving around the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup and Sarah's story, as she slowly learns that this tragedy is linked to her own life, and that her and Sarah have more in common than she thought.

This novel was excellent. It was the kind of book that I found myself thinking about days later- the true mark of good read. Sarah's Key will not leave you disappointed; it is filled with mystery, suspense, and heartbreak that will make you speechless.

The Six Rules of Maybe

The Six Rules of Maybe

  1. Respect the power of hope and possibilities. Begin with belief. Hold on to it.
  2. If you know where you want to go, you're already halfway there. Know what you desire but, more importantly, why you desire it. Then go.
  3. Hopes and dreams and heart's desires require a clear path- get out of your own way.
  4. Place hope carefully in your own hands and in the hands of others.
  5. Persist, if necessary.
  6. That said, most importantly- know when you've reached an end. Quit, give up, do it with courage. Growing up is not failing- it's the chance to begin again.
Deb Caletti crafts a beautifully simple coming of age narrative that allows the main character, Scarlet to explore her own dreams and desires. When she stumbles upon The Six Rules of Maybe, she struggles with her constant habit of worrying and helping everyone around her. This tendency is shattered when her newly married and pregnant sister comes home unexpectedly, along with her new husband. Scarlet's world turns upside down when she realizes that she is falling for her sister's husband. The Six Rules of Maybe guide Scarlet's life that summer and help her to learn about hope and growing up.

But want without the belief you can get what you want is pointless. You have to have hope, so I let that in too. You have to. To want things and go for them and believe, even in impossible situations... Hope was what you had when you had nothing else. Hope was the perfect shiny top on the Christmas tree, the glowing halo of every wish, the endless beacon of a lighthouse bringing tormented ships home at last.

Although this is not my favorite Deb Caletti novel, she once again creates an almost Stars Hollow array of quirky characters that add humor and depth to the book. It was definitely an adequate read, but worth the time. Check out Deb Caletti's other books as well:

The Fortunes of Indigo Sky
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
The Nature of Jade*
Queen of Everything
The Secret Life of Prince Charming*
Wild Roses*

*My favorites

Saturday, June 5

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston dies in a car accident. She thinks that she will live forever- she is popular, has a great group of friends, and an attractive boyfriend. But she is dead. However, Samantha does not get to move on, but is stuck in the day that she died, and lives through it seven times. She finally has a chance to see that her decisions have consequences and affect other people, realizing in the long run that she should have been a better person. She has a chance to undo the wrongs and mistakes of her past, before she falls.

"Be honest: are you surprised that I didn't realize sooner? Are you surprised that it took me so long to even think the word- death? Dying? Dead? Do you think that i was being stupid? Naive? Try not to judge. Remember that we're the same, you and me. I thought I would live forever too."

"It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It's never occurred to me before; I've never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different."

"Not then, but afterward, I started to think about time, and how it keeps moving and draining and flowing forever forward, seconds into minutes into days into years, all of it leading to the same place, a current running forever in one direction. And we're all going and swimming as fast as we can, helping it along. My point is: maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know."

Wednesday, June 2

The Visibles

To be quite honest, I expected Sara Shepard's first attempt at adult fiction to be the definition of a beach read- frothy, filled with gossip and simple language, similar to her YA reads. Boy, was I wrong. The Visibles is a heart-wrenching tale of young Summer Davis, with a microscopic view of her struggles with her family, friends, and the world around her. Sarah Shepard uses poetic and evocative words to explore this family's biological and emotional ties to one another, through both views of science and faith. I was completely drawn in by Summer's unique and fearful personality, her father's mysterious past and commencing mental illness, and the comical Aunt Stella. The introduction was an intriguing,italicized account of hidden love and a tragic accident from the past, that had me hooked from the very first page. This book details Summer's life as a teen to her thirties, skillfully creating a contrast between the past and present with precision to marvel at.

This moving text had me wanting more after every page, and I absolutely recommend it. It reads a bit as a teen novel, which I viewed as a positive attribute- the perfect mix of YA and adult fiction. I read it quickly, and already passed it on to my sister who is always looking for a good book- this one definitely is worth it.