Summer Reading Roundup - 2014
Hello! This past summer has been full of reading for me, so I wanted to share with you my thoughts on books that I enjoyed. I can't include everything I've read because that would be way to long, and you guys don't want to read through it all, but I tried to add almost all of the ones that I recorded on here. If you have any questions about any of the books I read, or have other book suggestions for me, please leave a comment down below! Let's get started.
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals. (Source)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and honestly could not tell where the plot was heading. If you like fantasy/dystopian/magic books, you should definitely read this! It was probably one of my favorite books that I read this summer, and I liked it so much that I went out and bought the rest of the series. Ooops.
Panic by Lauren Oliver, 3 cash prizes out of 5
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town 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. (Source)
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would and I think it was because the synopsis did not match up to what the book really was. If you're stuck for books to read, you could give this one a try, but don't go out of your way to read it.
Dear Pen Pal by Heather Vogel Frederick, 4.5 pen pals out of 5
Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick, 4 pie sales out of 5
I decided to reread this series when it was announced that a 7th book would come out. There was originally supposed to only be four (I think) but two have been added, soon to be a third. I am a little beyond the age level for these book, but I think they were a great addition to the first two and worth reading. Plus, I can never be too old to revisit the MDBC girls and the warm fuzzy feelings these books give me.
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher, 3 disturbing stories of 5
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. (Source)
I was extremely disappointed with this book because of it's mature content. I do think it has a great lesson on how one person's action can create a huge chain reaction that has the power to completely change someone else's life, but you can also get that theme other places besides this book. I recommend skipping this book and searching elsewhere for more on actions and consequences.
Heart to Heart by Lurlene McDaniel, 4 miracle operations out of 5
Elowyn Eden and Kassey Messechek are best friends. They share every aspect of their lives. But one thing Elowyn has not yet shared with Kassey is that she checked the organ donor box on her newly acquired driver's license. Kassey only learns of this in a startling and devastating way—when Elowyn's life-giving donor wishes are about to be honored.
Arabeth St. Clair has not had the luck to have a best friend. Due to her diseased heart, she's led a sheltered life. When Arabeth is sixteen, she and her mother receive the call that will change their lives—but they don't know to whom they should be forever grateful.
When the worlds of these three girls and their families intersect, lives are changed in ways never imagined. Most especially, it is Kassey who sees things differently, for she can keep alive the memory of her dear friend by sharing the renewed life of another teenage girl, while helping to ease the pain of the two families involved and coming to terms with her own. (Source)
This book was beautifully written, and shows how unbelievable the connections between an organ donor and the person who receives the organs are. It was a super short book, and totally worth my time. If you're into realistic fiction books, give Heart to Heart a shot. I'm sure you'll like it.
Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans, 3.5 holiday miracles of 5
The Christmas season is supposed to be full of joy, but not for Mark Smart. Life had dealt him one blow after another until one snowy November night, when he finds a beautiful young woman who will change his life forever. Macy Wood has little memory of her birth parents, and memories she'd rather forget of her adopted home. A Christmas ornament inscribed with the word "Noel" is the only clue to the little sister she only vaguely remembers, a clue that will send her and Mark on a journey to reclaim her past, and her family. (Source)I started reading this book when my mom insisted that I give it a try, and surprisingly (with it being an adult book and all) I really liked it. It has a great story of redemption and forgiveness, and that's not even mentioning the sweet love story to go along with it :)
I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.
The worst part of being dead is that there's nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It's enough to kill a girl all over again. But I'm about to get something no one else does--an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma's desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me--to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she's the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, care-free daughter when she hugs my parents goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move? (Source)
I was desperate to read something and this was my only option at the time, but interestingly enough, I liked this book more than I thought I would. I kind of suspected it would be dumb and predictable, but for me, it was the exact opposite. It isn't a book to write home about, but it had me captivated until the end. Sadly, it took me until the end to realize that it isn't just a one and done book. It's a big series and I still don't know the answer to the mystery (which is so frustrating because I don't have time to read the rest!) Just be aware that there is some mature content added in if you want to begin a journey with these books.
The Giver by Lois Lowry, 4 long-lost histories out of 5
Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. (Source)
The Giver is great. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for!? It's a classic, plus its movie recently came out and is in theaters now. I saw the movie a few days ago and I loved it. There were a few differences from the book that I was skeptical of at first, but somehow they worked for the movie and I almost liked the movie better than the book. Nonetheless, I suggest reading the book before you head to the theater!
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell , 3.5 forbidden relationships out of 5
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. (Source)
I read this book soon after it first came out. I got it from my library without even reading the summary because I had heard that it was an absolute must-read for teens. If I had read the summary, I probably wouldn't have picked it up, but I did, so I decided to give it a try anyway and soon discovered that it contained extremely mature content throughout most of the book. Somehow, it left a overall good impression on me, because I read it for the second time this summer. I could not figure out why I had liked it so much the first time until I reached the end. I fell head-over-heals for the end of this book because it was so perplexing and thought-provoking. The author lets you decide the fates of the two characters, which I totally love, but also completely hate because there is no real answer. After reading it the second time, I really want to tell you that you need to read it, but alas, I can not recommend picking it up because of all the offensive mature content.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, 4 secret wolf packs of 5
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, 3.5 dangerously hot fevers out of 5
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. (Source)
*I only included they synopsis for the first book*
These two books are part of "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" series. I read the first two before, but never finished with the third, so I decided to re-read this summer. Both kept me involved with the story the whole time and I loved learning about the characters relationships with each other. There are some unnecessary scenes thrown in that made me uncomfortable, but most of them are brief and I can look past them and still see the great plot. I have third book, Forever, on hold at the library, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!
Divergent by Veronica Roth, 4.5 corrupt factions out of 5
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her. (Source)
So, I know read this book wayyyy after its prime, but that was on purpose. There was so much hype about the series and about the Divergent movie that came out, and I didn't want to expect too much of it and then totally hate it (sorta like my experience with TFIOS). I stayed away from everything concerning this book, so I knew almost nothing about the plot before I picked it up. I loved it. I started and finished it within a couple days because I could barely put it down. I have the second in the series on hold at the library and I'm dying to see Divergent's movie. On a more negative side though, I thought parts of it were a little predictable (do you know what parts I mean?), and that most characters did what was expected of them in most situations. One of my favorite things though, was that it was set in Chicago and when they mentioned locations (such as Michigan Ave., Navy Pier, The Bean, etc.), I could be like "Oh hey, I've been there! I know exactly what they're talking about." If you were waiting to read just like I was, go ahead and start it now. You won't be disappointed.
That is all for now! Thanks to those of you who took the time to read my post and comment. Just as a reminder, if you have any questions or if you want to give me a book recommendation, leave a comment below. Also, I'm curious as to what you've been reading and enjoying lately, so I guess you can comment about that too, haha. Have a great rest of your day!