Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Shooting Scars by Karina Halle

Book: ShootingScars (The Artists Trilogy #2) 
By: Karina Halle
Published: August 20, 2013
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Description: Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.

Told in dual POV from Camden and Ellie.

My Thoughts: If you have been a dedicated follower of my blog for at least a year, you know I absolutely love Karina Halle, and her books (going to one of her author events in Virginia shortly). So when this came out, it took everything in me not to drop everything I was doing and obsess over it until it was read. NaNoWriMo came in the middle of it too, and I had to pause my reading lest I be swallowed up in the lives of Ellie, Javier, and Camden. As soon as it was over though, I spent an entire day on finishing it, and I did just that.
Shooting Scars was just as great as Sins and Needles, I can’t even explain. I did prefer the Ellie POV’s over the Camden ones, but that’s just because I love Ellie and couldn’t stop seeing how she would deal with things. She’s definitely my fav character, hands down.
As is the norm for all of Karina’s books, our MC’s are extremely flawed, and in this one, it’s no different. Ellie makes a HUGE mistake (or not, depending on how you look at it) and feels bad for her judgment afterward. Camden tries to make her hurt, just because he hurts. Javier is abusive and aggressive, and just overall horrible and amazing. I mean, he literally referred to himself as Zorro! Love that movie, and love Javier (anyone else picturing him as Antonio Banderas?) He’s scary and I love him, though I don’t want Ellie with him at all.
“You’ve gotten wilder”
Have I?”
“Yes. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle you anymore.”
I smiled to myself but it quickly faded.
I didn’t know how I was going to handle myself either.
There’s just so much emotion, I can’t properly explain it all. Read this series if you haven’t yet. Start with Sin’s and Needles . It’s perfect. 5 stars for Shooting Scars and I’m picking up Bold Tricks  in about a week or so. I’ve got a bunch of books that have piled up that I need to read first.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Codename Chimera by J.K. Percy

Book: Codename:Chimera   
By: J. K. Persy
Published: January 5, 2013
Published By: Self Published

Description: A famous millionaire dies under mysterious circumstances in the Brooklyn ghetto. What it was that made him go to such a dangerous place at night remains a mystery. The only clue is a book, Mythical Creatures of Ancient Greece, left on his body and opened at a page on Chimera. Private detective Kevin Kris takes on the case, helped by Penny, his trusty assistant, and Michael, his best friend. They soon uncover a chain of bloody events shrouded in mystery from the past. Little by little the private detective and his friends discover the real truth hidden by the Man With No Face.

My Thoughts:
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review:
I’m not a mystery person and I usually stay away from the whole genre, so when I was contacted to read Codename Chimera by the author, I was a bit hesitant. I knew I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it the way I should and I didn’t want to ,mess anything up. Regardless, the author said they would still like my review, so I decided to give this genre a try.
The description pretty much sums up the plot of the story. A famous millionaire dies, and our MC, Kevin is hired to take the case and prove that the millionare’s wife was the one who killed him. However, as he begins researching and looking at the events, he and his team learn that the wife is innocent, and that it may be related to a necklace, and an ancient text. The events following are their discoveries as the look deeper into the mystery and the ultimate resolution.
The story in and of itself wasn’t at all bad. It was interesting to try to figure out who was the one who did it. It even have me a bit of interest into mysteries as a whole.  (you’ll see a review on a mystery on my blog in the future.) That being said, I didn’t much like this particular book. Things didn’t seem to progress and sometimes it was a bit hard to follow. The detective just sort of uncovered things super easily and people spilled information. Things just always popped into his head without me being able to understand how he came to the conclusion. In my opinion, people as a whole know how to lie pretty easily, so for them to spill secrets accidentally so clumsily, it was just unrealistic. In addition, there was a bunch of unnecessary information and filller that didn’t seem to help progress the story along, and I eventually found myself merely skipping over this information. There were some cool riddles that were included but that I couldn’t figure out and they frustrated me, since even they didn’t seem to really belong.
I don’t necessarily think this was a bad book, just not at all for me. I didn’t like it, and had I not been ultra curious about the ending, I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. I give it 1.5 stars. It wasn’t at all for me. I should have trusted my gut from the beginning, though it did make me interested in other mysteries. I would suggest this to those who like to read mysteries, like lots of additional information, and enjoy solving riddles.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Book: Ender’s Game   
By: Orson Scott Card
Published: January 1985
Published By: Tor Science Fiction

Description: In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

My Thoughts: Of course I picked this one up because the movie is coming out shortly and I wanted to know what to expect. I was also recommended to listen to the audiobook of it by my FiancĂ©e’s future Best Man, Japp (Also known as J Morgan, author of EISI see review here
). Finally, I decided to do it, and I must say, I’m glad I did.

Ender’s Game is a book told from the perspective of Ender, a young boy who is a military genius. He has been accepted into Battle School to train to help defeat an alien attack. This story shows his process of becoming the leader the army needs and the resulting battle that ensues.

There was so much I loved about this book, I can’t even explain it. I love books where the characters are flawed or isolated and suffering. They’re more real to me. Originally, I was worried that this book wouldn’t be up my alley. It’s told from the POV of a young kid, younger than 12 with no romantic interests. Still, there was something about it that pulled my interest despite these things. Yes, Ender is young, but he doesn’t think like a child. In fact, I have no doubt he’s smarter than me. Yes, there are no romantic interests, but there’s so much else in this book that’s more important. There’s loss and anger and betrayal, friendship, bullying, everything people combat on a daily basis. It was enough. I must admit though, that I don’t think I’ll pick up the other books in the series, at least not for a while. This book was enough for me and I think reading anything else may ruin it somehow.

If you’ve been thinking about this book, I’d totally suggest it. It’s beautifully written and engrossing. The audio format is exquisitely narrated. Pick it up now! I give Ender’s Game 5 stars.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book: Speak     
By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: April 1, 2001
Published By: Puffin

Description: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

My Thoughts: I picked up Speak a long time ago mainly because of the many awards and glowing reviews it received. I had hoped to love it immensely. Unfortunately it fell a bit short.

We follow Melinda, a young girl ostracized by her classmates for calling the cops on an end of summer party. She spends the whole of the story depressed and attempting to block out the events that happened at the party.

I found the entire story to be extremely boring and bland. Melinda had seemingly no backbone and I just didn’t like her at all. The story was predictable, after all, what else could have happened at that party that caused her to call the cops and block the events from her own mind. I found myself reading just to find out if I was right instead of for actual enjoyment. I give Speak 2.5 stars. It wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t live up to the hype either.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

By: John Green
Published: January 10, 2012
Published By: Dutton Books

Description: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten

My Thoughts:  I gave in to the hype. Everyone said this book was the best thing since the wheel and I decided to decide for my own if it was true. I decided to determine for myself whether or not this book would actually make my cry and laugh and feel wonderful things inside. It was all that and more.

You know how you find those precious books that you begin to read, and almost immediately are drawn in. You become attached to the characters and your dreams become their dreams. You haven’t even gotten to the end of the book and already you want to tell the world about it. You want everyone to know how amazing it is and how perfect and beautiful. You want to share it with every little kid and every adult, and every time someone complains about how sucky their life is you want to smack them upside the head with that one perfect book? This was that book for me. I loved it. It made me feel absolutely everything. It was heartbreaking and amazing. 

I don’t want to give anything away because some of the majesty of this book is reading and meeting the characters for yourself. Do yourself a favor and read it, but be warned; if you’re one of those readers who get so connected to books that you feel exactly as the character does (kind of like a hypochondriac but with books…hypobookriac?) then I’d suggest you brace yourself. This book does interfere with reader moods. 5 Big Stars.