Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Pages: 413
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Year Published: 2011

" If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?
When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.
  If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him don't you?
When Ellie's brother is charged with offense, her world begins to unravel. 
  When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide." 

My Rating: 5/5

I haven't read a book in a while that has been this thought provoking. I really loved the last book that I had read by Jenny Downham so when I saw this one I had to read and I couldn't be more happy that I did. This book made me think through what I would do for my family and how hard I would fight for them. I realized that when we wonder what people do what they do, they all have their reason. I loved the characters in this book and how all of them weren't portrayed as unusual people, they acted just like your everyday people. I would suggest this book to any in their teens. It is a honest page turner!

Thank you for reading,
Sidny ♥♪♫

Spoiler: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

I haven't read a Jenny Downham book since the start of this blog, and I didn't think that she could have done a better job than Before I Die, but You Against Me blew me away. I don't know how Jenny comes up with such unique ideas. All I can think of is how she finds inspiration. I have never read a book before shown from both sides of a criminal and the victim, especially since it's from people close to those characters. In this book I found myself wondering if I was just a hopeless romantic or if everyone whose read this book wanted Ellie and Mikey to get together. Feel free to comment your opinion below :)

Mikey: Mikey is kind of the troubled kid. He has a rough family and he doesn't seem to have had a lot of opportunities in life. I thought of him as the brother that I never had at the beginning. Trying his very best to take care of everyone and the situation they're put in. He's not perfect, but he's doing his best. I love that he has a goal to be a chef, it's sexy when men cook. In the end I'm happy that he and Ellie end up together, it's sweet and perfect.

Ellie: I really like Ellie. She is a real girl, she has problems dealing with what's happening to her family and she doesn't act like she's ok all the time. I'm happy that she tells the truth, because how would she deal with conscious after her brother got away from jail? I think she has to big of a heart to let Karyn suffer like that. It just wouldn't be fair. I was mad when she said that she deleted the pictures off of Tom's computer, but it makes sense that she didn't want them getting spread around.

Karyn: I wasn't sure if Karyn was lying at first, but then I realized that she wouldn't be holed up at home all the time if she was lying, she'd be out and about. I think she is a poor girl who made a few mistakes and ended up in a horrible situation. When Ellie tells the police what happened I couldn't help but cry for Karyn.

Tom: What I sick boy? I know that many guys take advantage of girls when they've had to much, but to then deny it and send threatening texts is not only cowardly but wrong. I was surprised that Jenny Downham made him such a normal character, he wasn't a serial killer, or a freak he was just your average boy next door. I think that he might have ended up confessing if it hadn't been for his father's encouraging him to fight. I hope he rots in jail!

Mikey's Mom: It's safe to say that Mikey's mom has a drink problem and not a small one. I was so mad when she said that she wished that Karyn had kept her problems to herself, but at the end she was doing as everyones' mom should and taking care of her.

Jacko: I was so mad when he was hitting on Karyn, but maybe a normal and healthy teenage relationship would be good for both of them.

Ellie's Mom: I couldn't believe how she just took orders from Ellie's dad. Just being the good little wife who made dinner, and cleaned. It's the twenty first century for Pete sakes!

Ellie's Dad: I really don't like this man. He makes Ellie feel like junk for telling the truth. He should be reassuring to both of his children instead of just sticking up for Tom, the no good rapist. He frustrates me!

Moments to Remember:
♥Pg. 116
"She recognized that male bravado from Tom, convincing yourself at the same time as you8 convinced everyone else. Her dad did it with maps."

♥Pg. 290
"Every girl knows if you get into a situation with a boy who has had sex already, then he will want to have sex with you. He will push at your boundaries. If you say no to a boy like this, he will try and get you to change your mind."

♥Pg. 337
"'When i thought Ellie set me up for a kicking and when I didn't see her for ages and thought she didn't care, I went nuts. I didn't want to get up, or go to work, or anything, and I'm sorry about that, mate, I can see how crap it was for you, but I was terrified I'd never see her again. I like her that much.'"

♥Pg. 379
"'She's got Holly a place in an after-school club.'
 'I'm going to do football and street dancing,' Holly told him.
 'At the same time?'"

Thanks for reading,
Sidny xoxo

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: A Northern Light
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Pages: 390
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Year Published: 2003

"Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.
Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this astonishing novel weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real and wholly original."

My Rating: 4.5/5

I love a book that is shows history in its prime and isn't afraid to show the harsh realities of the time. I truly believe that in order to understand our present, we have to understand our past. Since this book is based in 1906 and told by a young woman, as a reader you get to understand the hardships of a woman in that time and what they were really treated like. I love that this book is based on a true story. The only thing I didn't honestly enjoy about this book is that some of the language wasn't what I imagined would be used in 1906, but I do understand that is must be extremely difficult to write in a language we don't see a lot of today. And this is why I rated this book a nine. I really do believe that all teenage girls who are finishing high school and deciding what to do with their lives should read this book, it has honestly helped me.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny ♥♪♫

Spoiler: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

As I mentioned in the book review above, I really love a book that shows history as it was. And that is exactly what I found in this book. I found that Mattie Gokey is a character that is easy to relate to because of her age and what she is facing in the times we read about her. I never really realized what country girls faced in the early 1900s. The way that they were treated or expected to act shocked me. Also the setting of this story cause for me to think about my own small town in the time 1906. What would it have looked like? What would the ladies have worn? And on, and on. This book has a way to just spark your imagination.

Mattie Gokey: This is our main character and does she ever do a great job on telling the story. She uses words that start your imagination and help you visualize what is happening around her. I loved that in the end she followed her heart, and not just what everyone else told her to do. She took the hard road, even though she knew that things were more difficult that way. I also loved her word of the day, it taught me how much meaning there is in our vocabulary. I'm happy that she helped solve Grace's murder and that she got the courage to leave.

Weaver: I like Weaver because of his stubborn attitude. He brings justice from those who we wouldn't expect. He's not afraid just because he's different from the other people in the North Wood. He sticks up for himself and to  me that takes a lot of courage. I was so upset when his house burned down because of those racist trappers but in the end it all worked out for the best. I did think that by the end that Mattie and Weaver would be "sparking".

Royal: He is really just the farm boy that you expect to see in the country in the year of 1906. He only wants to marry Mattie for the chance that he may get her farm and he doesn't truly love her. I understand that Mattie wants someone to love her, but Royal is not that man. He deserves that Martha Miller she deserves to have no one honestly love her after what she said to Mattie at the picnic.

Pa: I really think that Mattie's pa did want what was best for her, but he couldn't bear someone else leaving and so he tried to hold her. Little did he know that that would only make her run harder.

Emmie Hubbard: I didn't like her in the beginning, because of the way she didn't take care of those children, and I liked her even less after I figured out what Mr. Loomis was doing with her, but in the end I do believe that she was on the right track with Weaver's mamma.

Moments to Remember:
♥Pg. 19
"Mamma would try her best to stay on the porch, to hang back and be proper, but she never could. He would smile at her, and then she was running down the path to him, crying because she was glad he was home with his hands and feet and arms and legs all still attached."

♥Pg. 143
"'You smell terrible!' Lou said, pinching her nose.
  He did, too. Manure and whisky fumes made an unholy combination.
  'What? I smell sweet as da rose! You give your uncle Fracois a beeg keese!' He put out his arms and staggered toward her, and she ran away squealing and laughing."

♥Pg. 186
"She has curly carrot-red hair and eyes the color of molasses. She is tiny. In the same way that a stick of dynamite is tiny."

♥Pg. 208
"Jeezum... What if God was a woman? Would the pope be out of a job? Would the president be a woman, too? And the governor? And the sheriff? And when people got married, would the man have to honor and obey? Would only women be allowed to vote?"

♥Pg. 322
"Fran grinned, 'Never make love in the country, Matt. 'Cuz the potatoes have eyes..'
'... and the corn has ears,' Ada finished, giggling."

♥Pg. 332
"'Dear Mattie,' He began, holding up his lemonade, 'I love you much, I love you mighty, I wish my pajamas were next to your nightie. Now don't get mad at what I said, I meant on the clothesline and not in the bed.'"

Thanks for reading,
Sidny xoxo

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Waves by Sharon Dogar

Title: Waves
Author: Sharon Dogar
Pages: 327
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Year Published: 2009

"For Hal, now, this summer is different. This summer he meets Jackie, beautiful, impulsive Jackie. Lying with her on the beach while she sculpts figures in the sand- it's paradise. Or would be if he didn't keep hearing the desperate pleas of his lost sister Charley in his head...
For Charley, then, last summer was different. Pete, the meltingly gorgeous surf god, wanted her-- seriously! She'd do anything to be with him. Even if it meant sneaking out and leaving her little brother behind. Just for one night. How could she have known what would happen at dawn?"

My Rating: 4/5

To be honest, this book was decent, but not what I expected. I was hoping for a nice beach read to get me through this cold month, but when I read this book I realized its not what I thought it would be. It wasn't a bad book and I loved that it was based from England. It gets so boring hearing about the same old places, this book gave a new experience to the reader. I also enjoyed the characters, although the way the story was told between Charley and Hal was hard for me to understand at times I liked that I was able to see from both sides. Unfortunately, I was able to guess most of the story which took the fun out of reading it and that's the reason that I couldn't rate this book higher than a nine.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny ♥♪♫

Spoiler: Waves by Sharon Dogar

I really didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. It was kind of just mah. I read it, but it's not going to stick with me for long. I couldn't relate to the characters at all. I understand the feeling of love, but not so much with death and being in a coma. I do like that the beach is set somewhere other than in America or other regular settings. It made me want to learn more about the beach and how it was set up, but I suppose a beach is just a beach right? Well let's talk about characters.

Hal: I understand that anybody would freak out when they were communicating with their sister who was in a coma, but the fact that he just wishes his sister would die half the book is depressing and wrong. I also don't like the way he talks to Jackie, it seems like he's using her to get to Pete. In the end when he is with his parents after Charley dies, I'm completely disappointed in the way he acts.

Charley: I like the sound of her better than Hal, but she still seems slightly dumb. I don't like that she just doesn't check to see if anyone is following her and Pete in the woods. If you hear something go check it out, don't just rely on Pete's word.

Jackie: I'm not sure if I like her or not. She seems like your average teenage girl. I think she kind of stalks Hal though.

Pete: I honestly believed that he was cheating on Charley with Am. I understand that he feels the need to protect Am, but he goes a little to far by being accused of beating her and then letting her make fun of Charley.

Am: I know it's wrong, but I like Am the best. She's got spunk, maybe a bit to much, but still.  She's been through so much and the fact that she still wants Pete is obvious. I think that he wanted her back to. I can't believe that she just left Charley to practically die though. That's wrong on so many level.

Moments to Remember:
♥Pg. 11
"'The sun's out, sweetheart,' she says. Yeah, right, Mum, scintillating stuff; that'll bring her right back to life!"

♥Pg. 99
"'Help!' I yell to the passersby. 'She's holding my ice cream hostage.' The oldies stare and smile. 'Somebody liberate the ice cream,'"

♥Pg. 313
"'We didn't say good-bye,' I whisper.
'And I didn't say I love you,' he tells me.
'You didn't have to.'"

Thanks for reading,
Sidny xoxo

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review: The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz

Title: The Van Alen Legacy
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Series: Blue Bloods (Book #4)
Pages: 369
Publisher: Hyperion
Year Published: 2009

" With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry; love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Schuyler has made her choice. She has forsaken Jack for Oliver, choosing human over vampire. But old loves die hard... And even coldhearted Mimi seems to suffer from the ties that bind."

My Rating: 4.5/5

This book was a lot better than Revelations in my opinion. It held more mystery and the characters where much more developed. I loved that throughout the book it regularly switched from three main characters: Mimi, Bliss and Schuyler. This caused more suspense and a better understanding of what was going on. I also liked that this book had a lot more to do with the history of the Blue Blood society. In the first three books we don't hear much of the history prior to arriving in the New World. I thought that this was the last book in this series but after doing some research I found that there are more and Melissa De La Cruz is still writing. I plan on reading the next book, Misguided Angel, as soon as I can find it.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny ♥♪♫

Spoiler: The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz

This book was so much better than I anticipated. After reading Revelations I was so disappointed I figured that the Blue Bloods Series was on it's spiral down, and while this book wasn't perfect it certainly wasn't worse than the last one. I loved that we got to learn more about the Blue Bloods in ancient history, not just in the New World. I liked learning about the events in Rome and how Melissa De La Cruz makes history seem more like a mystery than fact. It makes a person wonder at the truth of history recordings.
Let's talk...

Bliss: During this book I found Bliss to be a little dimwitted. I got that she was being taken over by Lucifer, but calling him the Visitor and thinking that he couldn't figure out she was doing was dumb. The fact that when she wasn't being controlled she went and got a manicure was pathetic, I thought that she was better than that but in this book she seemed kind of like Mimi in that sense. I was happy when she used Michael's sword to be rid of the "Visitor" I wonder what she is now though: human or Blue Blood?

Schuyler: I figured that Jack and her would end up together together at some point. They just seem like they're made for each other even though Mimi is Jack's "soul mate" I was mad that Schuyler fell in "love" with Oliver. I really think that he was more of a brother to her than anything else and she played him pretty bad. I was happy that Oliver saw what was happening and decided to give her up. I'm curious about her gatekeeper mission though.

Mimi: I think that if Kingsley had lived she would have ended up with him for sure rather than Jack. They just seem more suited for each other. They both need someone to knock them off their pedestals. I do wish that she would stop fighting for Jack though. She feel in love with another just like him, so why can't she just let it go?

Jack: I think that Jack made the right choice running off with Schuyler. I love them together! I doubt it will last to long though if Mimi has her way.

Oliver: Poor guy has had a rough life, I think he would have been better off remaining in the friend zone. Maybe him and Bliss???

Kingsley: Although Kingsley was at times a jerk I think that he was one of my favorite characters. Who doesn't love a bad boy?

Moments to Remember:
♥Pg. 53
"He drank coffee like some vampires drank blood."

♥Pg. 99
"In a way the chase invigorated her: running so fast, using her vampire muscles and exerting them in ways they had never been used- by god he was fast! But I am faster, she though."

♥Pg. 186
" 'Prove it!' she hissed. 'Prove you are who you say!'
'We don't have time for this! You really want me to prove who I am?' he asked.
'Yes!' she challenged.
In answer, he took her in his arms, lifting her up and against the wall. He pressed his lips against hers, and with each kiss she could see into his mind, into his soul."

♥Pg. 223
"They had both learned to cook while on the run. Oliver's specialty was an Indian banana-and-chicken curry, while Schuyler liked to make interesting concoctions out of pasta and whatever she could find in the fridge. (Sometimes Oliver said they were too interesting.)"

Thanks for reading,
Sidny xoxo

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review: Street Pharm by Allison van Diepen

Title: Street Pharm
Author: Allison van Diepen
Pages: 297
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year Published: 2006

" If a brother wanna get ahead, he gotta use every minute to better himself. Everything I did made me better- tougher, stronger, richer, smarter- or I didn't do it.
Take high school. A waste of time. Nobody there taught me what I needed to survive on the streets..."
" Ty Johnson knows survival. Since inheriting his pop's business at sixteen, Ty's developed smarts, skills and mad discipline. . The supply game's in his blood. And life is pretty sweet when you're on top.
But one slip- or one serious competitor- and life turns ugly fast. Suddenly. Ty's got to rethink his whole strategy. And for the #1 dealer on the streets, strategy is not just about staying ahead. It's about survival."

My Rating: 5/5

I found this book an amazing page turner, filled with many harsh realities. The characters are filled with truth and Allison van Diepen isn't afraid to show readers the harsh reality of life for so many people. Although horrible, for many people, drugs are a part of daily life (whether by selling, buying or watching someone use). It is awful to think that all of this happens in our society but it's the truth and by reading this book I've learned how people outside of this situation need to look at it. This book truly put me in another person's shoes which is difficult to do, but when done right well worth it.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny ♥♪♫

Spoiler: Street Pharm by Allison van Diepen

This books main purpose is to inform the reader on how drug dealers operate and how their lives are. I love the way that Allison van Diepen really gets inside Ty's head and uses her experience from teaching at a rough school to help others understand what these teens battle every day. I think that as a society we really don't understand why people deal drugs. Now I feel like I can understand why kids drug deal even after their parents get caught. I have heard that Brooklyn is really rough area multiple times but I think that this book really captures it. The way that the characters talk in this book is almost to stereotypical, I'm not sure if they actually talk this way but if they do it would make this far more real. The "last chance high school" is an interesting idea. A place where you can see so many teens from the bad neighborhood and all their stories. I think that addictions play an obvious major role in this book, especially when we see some characters start to fall and crumble around their need for the drugs. They truly are slaves to their addictions.

Ty: I never really though about how a drug dealer feels about what he's doing, but reading from Ty's point of view truly taught me what happens in this business. That is really what it is, or at least how Ty thinks of it. It's just the same as if they owned a pharmacy. Maybe he thinks of it this way to sooth his conscious, or maybe that's what Orlando taught him. I felt horrible when Ty got shot because I realized that he was really not that different than any other teenager. He's just a person who got caught in a bad situation. I was super pumped when he quit the business and chose the right thing for him not his father.

Sonny: I really do think that Sonny was the brother that Ty never had. I was so upset when he died, but it was bound to happen and if he hadn't I doubt that Ty would have quit.

Alyse: I was shocked when she said that she was turning tricks. She seems like such a sweet girl, innocent and uptight. Then when we see that she's a mother it all makes sense. I think she's a good mother from what I read.

Orlando: This man never really cared about Ty the way a father should with his son. He just wanted someone he could rule over and direct. I hope he rots in prison.

K-ron: I wonder what he got paid to rat on Ty and Sonny.

Ty's Mom: She is such a sweet lady and to think she left Orlando just for Ty only for Ty to get caught back up. At least in the end he got away from it all.

Monfrey: I think that he's Ty's best friend. He really owes Ty for putting hi in rehab when Ty was trained just to walk away from that situation. I'm so happy that Monfrey turned out alright in the end.

Moments to Remember:
♥Pg. 18
" 'Chill, Mom, chill. You know it ain't like that. Monday, call the school to see if I showed up.' I put my hand over hers and gave her my best smile. 'Pack me peanut butter and jelly, yo?' "

♥Pg. 41
" Now I ain't saying that young hustler can't ever have a girlfriend. But I say wait until you're twenty-one, get her tested for all the diseases you can think of and some shit you never heard of, and set her up right. "

♥Pg. 205
" 2513 Nostrand Avenue was a redbrick townhouse. When the cab stopped at the curb I saw a curtain pull back in the front room. A little girl stood there and waved.
 A hit man with kids. "

♥Pg. 295
" 'Rob said you quit the business.'
'Yeah. I won't even sell you an Advil.' "

Thanks for reading,
Sidny xoxo

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: Circle of Honor by Carol Umberger

Title: Circle of Honor
Author: Carol Umberger
Series: The Scottish Crown (Book #1)
Pages: 292
Publisher: Integrity Publishers
Year Published: 2002

" It is fourteenth century Scotland, and Gwenyth Comyn has  a chance to make: Does she falsely accuse her sworn enemy, Adam Mackintosh, of assaulting her, or does she tell the truth and remain in captivity to her actual attacker? Though telling the truth would ensure bondage for herself, accusing Adam would unjustly dishonor him- and likely secure his death. Gwenyth's decision is complicated by her strong feelings of attraction toward the kindhearted and chivalrous Adam.
 Circle of Honor takes you back to the time of Scotland's war for independence from England. When Robert the Bruce destroyed her family and her home, Gwenyth fled for her life, only to be captured and stripped of her titles and lands. Then a brutal assault by her captor leaver her wonder, Where was God when she needed Him? Does He care about her and her problems? As she struggles to hold on to her faith in God, Gwenyth must confront the battle between her desire for revenge and her growing love for Adam. Her fate, and Adam's, rest in the choice set before her."

My Rating: 4/5

I really didn't expect to like this book, as I haven't read many romances that really caught my attention. I loved the fact that this book took place in the past which lets the reader truly understand a different time. It was fun learning about the struggles of Scotland, perhaps I worded that wrong it was interesting I should say so I don't offend anyone. I liked the characters, but it was I little to simple to figure out who was good and evil. I like a bit of mystery to stuff like that. I also didn't quite enjoy how slow the beginning was. I love to just jump into a story, this wasn't quite like that and that's why I consider this book an eight. I can't wait to read another book in this series as I have heard that it follows different people instead of staying with the same ones consistently. Hopefully, this way I will not get bored.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny ♥♪♫

Spoiler: Circle of Honor by Carol Umberger

I really liked this book, and I was shocked. I haven't read many romances that I liked. So when I started reading this book and I liked it I couldn't just share that with the world just yet, I wanted to wait and make sure that I still liked it my the end, I sure did.  I'd like to thank you to  my friend Emily for lending me this book. I love the fact that this book is based in the past and gives off that feeling of old romance. The type that lasts, it definitely gives a girl faith. I also enjoyed the characters, the only thing I didn't like about them was how easy it was to determine good and evil.

Gwenyth: I was surprised by how relatable this character was and after she was assaulted I felt like my heart warmed to her. Although she is stubborn and defiant, she can also make a girl believe in true love. She was used as a pawn and when Adam comes along it looks like she won't except him at all but by the end a reader can tell that they will be together.

Adam: What a compassionate man? If I found one like this I would hold on tight and never let him go. He is wise, loving and all together the perfect man. He doesn't seem to have many weaknesses and he can control himself which now a days is rare.

Leod: From the beginning we can tell that this character is the obvious villain. The fact that he continually raped women was disgusting and the way he fought Adam was just as bad. I was so happy when he died.

Angus: I loved this father figure, although he had a temper and an illness he held so much of my interest in this book. I hated that he died, but such is life.

Nathara: I didn't like her from the scene in the spring, she seemed spiteful and rude, was I ever right.

Daron: I hope that he finds love, even if it is with Nathara, I guess everyone deserves someone.

Moments to Remember:
♥Pg. 49
" The thought summoned tears she could not prevent, and they dampened Adam's sark. Her sobs did not go unnoticed, for his large hand stroked her hair and he crooned in soothing Gaelic, abandoning the French of daily discourse. He didn't press her to learn why she cried, and she was grateful for his forbearance and willingness to console."

♥Pg. 71
" 'Enough,' Eva said, raising a hand that stopped them both. "I've heard enough. Two more stubborn men have never graced the earth.' "

♥Pg. 132
" Adam cleared his throat. 'My father wanted me to thank you for saving my life, Gwenyth. 'Twas a brave thing you did, defying Leod that way without knowing me from, well, from Adam.' "

♥Pg. 201
" 'We couldn't either of us find an easy bride, eh?' "

♥Pg. 214
"Aye, he would woo her and risk rejection, for she was worth the gamble."

♥Pg. 290
" 'I couldn't let you do that.'
'You couldn't stop me.'
Her remaining tension melted and she laughed and shook her head. 'You are impossible.'
With a wicked grin, he agreed. 'Aye. Will you marry me anyway?' "

Thanks for reading,
Sidny xoxo