Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Books Are Vital Presents: Melannie's Top Ten Reads of 2013

My friends, 2013 is almost over. Just a few hours left of this year but a lot of things to keep in mind forever. Like Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher's lives, and Malala's story, and the kindness of countless volunteers in the many natural disasters that strike our world each year.

And of course it's impossible to not mention the many awesome film versions of our favorite Young Adult books:
-Catching Fire
-The Book Thief
-Beautiful Creatures
-The Mortal Instruments
-Ender's Game
-The Spectacular Now
And more I am sure I am forgetting because I'm typing this on a car and haven't gotten any sleep in the last 24 hours...

But let's start 2014 with positiveness and count down our favorite books of 2013 
(let's just count the ones we did finish reading okay?)

I really liked the whole FBI's witness protection program and the surprising chill factor this book had.

Like pretty much everybody else on the planet, I loved E&P. They were different from the cookie-cutter YA characters and still the same as you and me. Engaging story line too.

This was my first (complete) read of a Simone Elkeles book and I loved it. It was entertaining and the characters were funny and likable. And a little bit of Friday Night Lights essence is always welcomed.

I am a sucker for all things country and bluegrass music and string instruments and Jennifer Echols. She didn't disappoint with her YA drama this year.

6. Stung
It was a very awesome surprise to read this one, because I usually don't like Dystopian books. It was awesome and action-packed and a little bit terrifying in nature so naturally, I enjoyed it a lot.

Courage. The characters of this book have a lot of courage. And it is about friends and surviving and courage and I just get teary-eyed thinking about it. Hug (and read) this book if you can.

I am absolutely in love with this series. And my favorite characters were back with a bang this year. This book was the most emotional of them all and I appreciated it, Kat and Hale made me cry in this one, which is a huge deal.

3. Winger
I read this book twice this year. Huge deal, too. I am amazed about how much I love this book about a fourteen year old boy. The story is completely awesome and hilarious until it is not.

If you haven't figured it out, I freaking love Contemporary YA and this year my goddess is Kasie West, she wrote this awesome book that  absolutely loved and have placed in my most-prized book shelf.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much and it isn't even contemporary but it completely stole my heart. Because it is non-stop action combined with feeling of all kinds plus an intricate story line and amazing characters that I wish were my friends. Kudos again, Ms. West.

So there you go, these are my top ten reads of 2013, now tell me yours in the comments! :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: #16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

WoW is weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking The Spine in which bloggers can share books they're excited to get soon :)

#16 Things I Thought Were True 
by Janet Gurtler

Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue
When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...
Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue 
Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty sweet...in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?
5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue
With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.

Add On Goodreads 

First of all, I just think this book sounds so awesome and current, I really think some people will (hopefully) be reconsidering a few things in their life when they read this story. 
And secondly, Janet Gurtler always comes up with very interesting concepts for her books, she is kind of very awesome in my eyes.

I can't wait.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Roomies by Tara Altebrando & Sara Zarr

Title: Roomies 
Author: Tara Altebrando & Sara Zarr
Expected publication: December 24th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository 

Roomies is about two girls that spend a summer emailing each other before they will meet in person in school. So you know what you’re going to get, yet not really because these are teenagers after all, taking the biggest step in their life, moving from their homes and starting to live with a stranger, so there is a lot of catharsis going on.

I sort of liked this novel because of what it means. It’s about an incredibly exciting phase, when you leave the nest and start a new chapter in your life, when you start adulthood. The thing is though, that even though I have already been through that, I found it hard to empathize with both girls, Lauren and Elizabeth. Mostly Elizabeth, I couldn’t really find it in my hard to like her, she seemed a little shallow to me, and her mother didn’t help matters.

Lauren was alright, but then she started to date a guy who is black-skinned. I high-fived the authors in my head because that is a bold move for today’s Young Adult Literature, but then the truth came out. Lauren apparently really likes Keyon but her natural reaction and her parents’ reaction and Elizabeth’s reaction, while very appreciated for the honesty, I was severely disappointed to see kids these days still grow up kind of prejudiced against these meaningless things.

At the end, I think this book is going to be very helpful for everyone out there who is about to experience a situation when they are going to have a new roomie. I think one of its strongest messages is that you don’t need to be best friends with your new roomie, you just have to accept them and their personality, no matter if they are different or similar to yours. It’s all part of growing up. But I wouldn’t really call it a requisite read, though, and it is probably more appealing to the younger crowd.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Title: Let The Sky Fall 
Author: Shannon Messenger
Published March 5th 2013 by Simon Pulse
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I read “Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents.” and was like WOAH I have to read this boy’s story!

Turns out I was wrong and this book is not about a tragic F-5 tornado that hit some town. No. It’s about super-powered people that are made of air or control air or something, and can (and possibly will) destroy the human race.

Like I have stated before, I hate it when a book tries hard at making me believe the heroine is kickass. It’s like, let me decide that for myself and not shove down my throat how wonderful and deadly this girl is. You know, the kind of problem I have with Divergent. I think it’s more important to portray a girl with a healthy amount of vulnerability so we readers believe that maybe, just maybe there’s also force within ourselves that will allow us to become awesome heroines too. The thing is, Audra was too unapproachable to me. Yes, she did have a sad story behind her, and her family situation sucked, but it was hard to believe she cared about it, because she never showed emotions for it, mostly what she talked about were her duties as Vane’s guardian and her oath to protect him and it was hard to believe any teenager would not have a bit of a pity party once in a while.

And then, I am sorry to say, that Vane was kind of dull. I loved that he thought he was human, though so he went through a lot of emotions and struggled to catch on to the new reality of him being an air-elemental. It was a realistic approach to the way a boy would handle the news, and that is what saved the book for me.

But then again, I am not one to be easily awed by new realities and super powers and strange worlds. It is very rare to get a supernatural/paranormal book in my hands that I can say blew my mind or captivated me enough to continue reading the rest of the series.

On a happier note, I am absolutely in love with the cover of this book. Not only is gorgeous but it also makes a lot of sense once you read the story and captures perfectly these two characters.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Panic by Lauren Oliver

WoW is weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking The Spine in which bloggers can share books they're excited to get soon :)

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.


I am super excited to dig into my ARC, I haven't read any Lauren Oliver yet but I've hear amazing things about her books. And the truth is, Panic sounds brilliant and action-packed.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen

Title: Countdown 
Author: Michelle Rowen
Published October 1st 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depo

I haven’t read the original Countdown with its original adult characters but I did know of it before starting the new young adult version and I did find some parts to be quite off, like in some scene what the characters did or thought made them look older. But once I shook off the feeling, I did end up liking the book.

The story is really out there, brain implants are put into people’s heads so they can watch this hardcore reality show where people face these horrible and impossible tasks that they have to pass before the countdown is over. And this time the unlucky ones are two teenagers, Kira who is kind of a street rat, and Rogan, a mass murderer and current juvie convict.

Lots of action happen, and since the point of view is Kira’s, is really cool that we get to see the struggle she goes through during the game, not knowing if she can trust Rogan who is known for being one of the most awful criminals in history but is also helping her along the way.
I did think that the whole plot and some of what happened was completely unbelievable and so crazy that I couldn’t enjoy the story just because my head was like: “Oh noooooooo way, dude. No way.”

But at the end I really thought nothing was bad about it, about the book I mean, it’s not its fault that I am so cynical and hard to please. The truth is that I did like the story line, and the characters did make me care for them, so I can say that why I am usually not a fan of sci-fi, I did end up liking it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Split Second by Kasie West

WoW is weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking The Spine in which bloggers can share books they're excited to get soon :)

Split Second by Kasie West

Life can change in a split second.
Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price. 
When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that. 
Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.
As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

Add on Goodreads 

Kasie West is my crush this year. Seriously, her books alone have been in my bedside table for most of the year because I love to re-read them and I have already hooked 2 of my friends.

I love her stories. And Pivot Point was easily one of the best books I read this year, BUT it also nearly killed me. 
That ending destroyed me. 
I have been wrecking my mind because of the absence of Split Second in my life, and now that the date gets closer it just gets harder to live without it ):

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

WoW is weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking The Spine in which bloggers can share books they're excited to get soon :)

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?
And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is she running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money--fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.
Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to sabe.


Awwww, don't you think this will be completely hilarious?!
I mean cheesy chapels are hilarious by nature but add two teenagers to the mix and you have a recipe for awesome.