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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reivew for Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Warning! spoilers ahead

I was reading this book as my A book for the A-Z book challenge. I had never read this book before, and I figured it would be a good one to try for this challenge.

Synopsis: Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.

Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself.

Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?

This book was short, only being 153 pages long. I felt that it was quite a good book, but it did have flaws.

Being rated for 8-12 year old readers, I realized that being 20 and reading this book, I found a lot of flaws.

First, the things I liked about this book.

1. It is realistic. Our society is headed in this direction. Sooner or later, we will run out of food, and have too many people to feed.
2. It was a fast read. It only took me an hour, but I enjoyed it.
3. I loved the main character. I felt bad for Luke. He was constantly stuck in an attack after his only safe place, the woods, was taken down. He was kept away from any people, because he could be killed. It was sad.

Now, the things I disliked about this book.

1. Things moved too quickly. While I liked it being a fast read, I disliked the lack of detail. Among the Hidden jumped around from different topics, and I was finding it hard to keep up with the story.
2. I did NOT like Jen. While everyone understood why they had to stay indoors, Jen didn't. She was the outcast, she was the dangerous one. She got herself killed.
3. The ending was ok, at best. I feel that Jen's dad gave too much mercy to Luke, I felt that Luke's parents were too quick to let him walk out of their lives, and I felt unconnected to other characters, beside Luke. If it was a book all about Luke, and no one else, I'd be happy.
Overall, I was happy with the work. This is the first book that I read by Haddix, even though this isn't the first time I wanted to read it. Haddix was popular while I was in elementary and middle school, and I desperately wanted to read her work. I never got the chance then, however.

I give Among the Hidden 3 and a half books.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review For Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

First, I should let you know that I bought this book before I read the synopsis. It was not because of the cover, but because of the author. Scott Westerfeld showed me the joy of traveling to a new world, not in a physical sense but in a mental one. The first author that I ever read and enjoyed was Lurlene McDaniel, which is amazing if your into the books about girls dyeing.  I was, but Scott Westerfeld showed me a new world. An exciting world, one that I want to live in. A world where people get turned into Pretties when they turn 16, but a world where one or two people stood up and said "enough". Uglies, Pretties, and Specials were the first sci-fi, young adult book series that I read, and I was hooked (review for Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras coming soon). I bought Peeps (and the spinoff which I will post later) during black Friday this year because I wanted to be reminded of why I started reading. It worked.

Synopsis - "Last year as college freshman, narrator Cal was infected by exotic goth Morgan with a parasite that caused following girlfriends to become vampire-like ghouls he calls parasite-positives "Peeps". A carrier without symptoms, he hunts his progeny for the centuries old bureaucratic Night Watch. But victims are showing more sanity, pretty human Lacey is pushing his buttons, and her apartment building basement houses fierce hordes of ravening rats, red-eyed cats, and monstrous worms that threaten all. Morgan has the secret to a centuries-old conspiracy and upcoming battle to save the human race."

Out of all the Scott Westerfeld books on the shelf, I chose Peeps. Peeps is about vampires, but they are called Peeps. You become a Peep by deep kisses, or having sex with someone. It is like an STD, but it makes you crazy. This book freaked me out in more than one ways, and here is why!

1. The talk of parasites. Parasites freak me out. Majorly. In between each chapter, Scott would put in little facts about parasites. At the beginning, I thought that it was for the cause of the book. It was meant to freak me out. The last few pages, however, is him explaining that the parasites talked about are REAL. That's right...REAL. Here is an excerpt from one of those pages: "Flip a coin. Tails? Relax. Heads? You've got parasites in your brain. That's right. Half of us carry the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite. But don't reach for the power drill just yet. Toxoplasma is microscopic....Toxoplasma would much rater live in your cat's digestive system, eating cat food and laying eggs. Then, when kitty takes a crap, these eggs wind up on the ground waiting for other scurrying creates. Like, say, rats....When toxoplasma gets into a rat, the parasite starts to make changes to its host's brain. If a normal rat bumps into something that smells like a cat, it freaks out and runs away. But toxoplasma-infected rats make them curious. They'll explore for hours trying to find the source. Which is a cat. Which eats them. And that makes a toxoplasma happy, because toxoplasma really, really wants to live in the stomach of a cat."

2. It is just freaky. Really, it is. Listen to this part: "Between my blazing flashlight and the squeaks and scrambling feet echoing off the sides of the pool, I was almost blind and practically deafened. But the weird smell of death was fading, and just as the last rats were finally clearing out, I caught the slightest whiff of something new in the air. Something close. A sharp hiss sounded behind me, someone sucking in air. As I spun around, the flashlight slipped from my sweaty fingers. It cracked on the swimming pool floor, and everything went dark. I was completely blind, but before the flashlight had died I'd glimpsed a human form at the edge of the pool. Following the bright image burned into my retinas, I ran the few steps up the slope and leaped from the pool, raising the camera like a club." It is exciting, and freaky!

The beginning just throws you right into the middle of it. Like you should know what is going on. But you don't. It grabs hold of you, and does not let go. There are a few little mistakes with grammar and word usage, but OH MY GOSHNESS! This is definitely a top book for me!

5 books

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review for The Girl and The Raven by Pauline Gruber

I received a copy through NetGalley for an honest review.

Sorry that I have not been on to write a review in a while, I have been struggling to get through the book that this post is reviewing!

I did not finish The Girl and The Raven. I struggled, and I took breaks, and I read, and I got angry, and I just could not do it. Usually, a fantasy type book like this catches my interest, but I do not know why this one did not.

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lucy Walker just wants a normal life, but finds herself thrust into a world of witches, demons and a mysterious yet irresistible upstairs neighbor who claims to be her protector. All the while she’s desperately searching for the family raven that carries her magical legacy. She's walking a tightrope between good and evil, drawn to both, uncertain which she will ultimately choose.

At the beginning it seemed very interesting. The opening had a huge turn of events, and I figured I would enjoy this book a lot. As the plot begin to unravel, I just didn't connect with the story.

First the writing. While the grammar was a lot better than in Blur by Steven James (view review at, the writing was very immature. I could tell that the author, Pauline Gruber, was not experienced. Either that, or that was just the way she writes. The story seemed to jump around so much, that I could not keep track. The author kept it jumping around, as well as introducing characters in their own POV, without me knowing who they even were. I get that at the beginning, but even in the middle of the book it was occurring.

The writing wasn't the only bad part of the book, the characters just annoyed me. You have Lucy, who is the main character (at least, most of the time). She did not seem smart at all, and did not take little hints. Oh, and almost everyone in the book thought with their pants. You have Lucy's friends (who I do not remember any of their names, they are that interesting), who are either all over boys, or all over Lucy in the abusive way. Then you have the "villain" of the book, who confused me on that part because all of the "evil" acts he was wanting to do, wasn't really all that evil. The only likeable character in the book was Lucy's uncles. They were the most believable because they were not into all of the mumbo jumbo in this book (remember, I only read the beginning. I could be wrong).

This book has everything from every other fantasy book you could read. It had demons, witches, and angels. The only thing that I did not see in the book (from the beginning) was a vampire. But I could definitely be wrong. I felt that it took a lot from other books that I have read, such as Fallen by Lauren Kate and The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith.

This book also did not know how to build a suspenseful situation. Any time that was supposed to be even mildly suspenseful, was just boring. The funny portions of the book did not make me laugh. The sad parts did not make me have 'the feels'. It also was bad at plot twists. All of the plot twists that were thrown at me, I had already guessed from the beginning of the book. They also released the plot twist way too early into the story. It did not make me want to read more of it.

I think I may have expected too much from this book. Very disappointing.

1 book

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Review for Blur by Steven James

I received a copy of Blur by Steven James from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Synopsis: The isolated town of Beldon, Wisconsin, is shocked when a high school freshman girl’s body is found in Lake Algonquin early in the school year. Just like everyone else in the community, 16-year-old Daniel Byers, son of the town’s sheriff, believes that Emily Jackson’s drowning death was accidental. But at her funeral, he has a terrifying vision of her sitting up in the coffin and asking for his help. Overcome with a crippling headache, he collapses, while the murderer watches, hidden in the crowd of mourners.
Later that week, after another macabre hallucination while quarterbacking during the homecoming football game, Daniel begins to think he’s going insane. However, convinced that Emily’s “resurrection” was more than just a mere hallucination, Daniel and a girl from school uncover a series of clues that convince them Emily was murdered. Daniel asks for his father’s help, telling him it’s a murder, but the sheriff suspects that his son’s hunches are just the result of his growing disconnect from reality.

The obstacles mount as Daniel’s difficulties distinguishing fantasy from reality become more and more pronounced. Soon, it becomes evident that his subconscious mind is synthesizing seemingly unrelated details from news articles and facts no one else notices, and then revealing the clues to Daniel through the grisly visions he’s seeing and the whispered voices he continues to hear. When the real killer becomes aware of Daniel’s suspicions of foul play, he plants evidence that leads the authorities, including Daniel’s own father, to suspect that Daniel is the one responsible for Emily Jackson’s death.

Full of twists and turns, this mystery with a Hitchkockian flair will launch a trilogy of YA thrillers featuring Daniel Byers, an unlikely hero struggling to find the truth as he slips further and further into his own private blurred reality.

I really like the cover of the book. It is haunting, and mysterious. It is what really drew me to ask for a copy to review. I love the colors, how bright they look on a dark and mysterious cover. It seems so ghostly, its haunting.

What is your favorite of My Favorite Stand-Alones?