Category Archives: 5 Stars

*Review* Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing Cover Two Boys Kissing

David Levithan

208 pages

ISBN: 9780307931900

Read 9-6-13

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

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New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. 

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

This was my first Levithan book and certainly won’t be the last! You guys, this book!  It was so good in so many ways, and not really what I expected, but so much better. The Greek chorus was different but a great new reading experience and it worked so well with this story.

This book tugged at my emotions in good ways and bad ways and I found myself tearing up more than once. We go back and forth between multiple main stories and see so much and experience so much that gay couples and singles so through, which is basically the same as straight people, but with the stigma and hate of people who don’t agree with the love they have. We see both the good and the bad for them. Love is love, unfortunately not everybody gets that.

I love the message in the book, that people should be able to love who they want to without being  criticized for it because they are the same gender and that even if they are flawed, they are still beautiful. I am all for equality and people being true to themselves because it makes them wonderful and this book shines with this message.

The characters are so wonderful and real and I really liked seeing their stories and their troubles and flaws and I wanted to hug them all. My heart broke for them and I was happy for them and I cheered them on, and the Greek chorus make it even more powerful and it was so hopeful.  I just loved the whole thing. A definite recommendation for those who want a touching read that will take hold of your heart.

Powerful, beautiful message, great writing, a new favorite!

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*Review* The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian Cover The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5)

Rick Riordan

381 pages

ISBN: 9780739380338

Read 9-3-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. 

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

I am so sad that this was the final book in the Percy Jackson series.  I loved everything about this series and I became so attached to all of the characters. Like Harry Potter and his friends, these characters have wriggled their way into my heart and I’ll love them forever.

The final installment was pretty satisfying and wrapped everything up nicely.  Nothing was left unanswered and there was a lot of action. There were some sad parts too (it is a war after all).  Some of the  characters I wasn’t crazy about I ended up liking a lot by the end of the series.  I loved hearing about all the mythology stories and seeing how the author brought the gods and goddesses to life.

I liked the funny dialogue between everybody and it made all the  characters even more charming and lovable.  The only thing I could possibly complain about in this series is the overuse of the word said – I said, Grover said, Annabeth said – all in the same paragraph sometimes, but other than that I can’t complain at all.

I will definitely be reading the other series by Mr. Riordan and I look forward to falling in love with more of his characters. I recommend this for anybody who loves a good adventure, mythology and awesome  characters.

Wonderful characters, action, nice wrap up, a favorite!!

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*Review* The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan

Battle of the Labyrinth Cover The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4)

Rick Riordan

375 pages

ISBN: 9781423101468

Read 6-17-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth – a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.

Honestly, I don’t know why I am so late on this review.  I guess I thought I already did it!  Sometimes I do that with stuff; it happens with scatter brained people like myself.  So, anyway…

I LOVE the Percy Jackson series!  I still have one more book to read, and I am going to be sad when it ends, that is how much I love it.  These kids have some crazy adventures and this book is no exception!  The labyrinth was really cool and crazy big.  There was so much that happened in this book!

The characters are all as great as ever, even Clarisse was able to be connected with for this one.  Things are building for the final book and I can’t wait to find out what happens.  Luke is evil as ever and we get to see Tyson some more and a couple others I don’t want to give away.  I wish I had super awesome books to grow up on like Percy Jackson (it wasn’t published until I was 20, nearly 21!).  The reader did a great job between the voices and the emotions of the characters.

Great characters, great reader, building tension, can’t wait to read the final book!

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*Review* The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan

The Titan's Curse Cover The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3)

Rick Riordan

304 pages

ISBN: 9780141382890

Read 5-31-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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 When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. And now it’s up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. Who is powerful enough to kidnap a goddess? They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared—a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever.

I love the Percy Jackson series!  It’s very exciting and fun.  The characters are great and I love hearing about the different Greek gods and goddesses.  The author really knows how to bring his characters to life!

Percy is a great character he is brave even though he is so young and he does whatever it takes to keep those he cares about safe.  He definitely has some crazy and dangerous adventures, but he has some great friends to help him out.  Annabeth is probably my second favorite character and you can tell Percy cares about her.

We get to see more of Thalia in this book and she is a strong character.  Her and Percy butt heads a lot and seems like they are both trying to be leaders.  The new quest is very dangerous, lives are at stake, Olympus is at risk and the goddess Artemis is missing, so there is plenty of action in this book.

The world in this series is really wonderful and it feels huge since they constantly have stuff going on, see new places and meet a lot of new people.  Not only do they have the places in the “regular world,” but they have all of the places they can get to from the mythological world as well.  I look forward to the last 2 books of the series, plus the movie for Sea of Monsters which comes out on my birthday :-)

Great characters, vast world, action, exciting.

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*Review* Dear Teen Me – Various Authors

DTMfinalcoverwithbleeds2 Dear Teen Me

Various Authors

192 pages

ISBN: 9781936976218

Read 5-30-13

Format: Paperback

Source: Library

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Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends–and a lot of familiar faces–in the course of Dear Teen Me.

At first, I thought it was going to be pretty cool to read what authors had to say to their teen selves.  But it wasn’t…it was AMAZING.  These letters were so much more than I thought they were going to be.  Some were funny, some serious, some heartbreaking.  I have more respect for a lot of these authors than I did before and I was surprised by some of the very serious issues many of them have dealt with and the message of courage and love being sent out to the people who read these letters.  The letters are so honest and encouraging.  Many of the letters are from well known authors we all love and there is a website you can visit if you would like to read even more letters.  Not a long review, but you just have to read this book!

Fast read, encouraging, honest, very touching.

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The Great Gatsby!

The Great Gatsby Movie Poster

Has anybody seen this movie yet?!  It was AMAZING.  I absolutely loved it.  Of course, I knew I would since Baz Lurhmann directed it.  My favorite movie of all time is Moulin Rouge, which is also by Baz, so of course I would love Gatsby.

This movie is so incredibly beautiful and sparkly and rich.  I have read The Great Gatsby, and though it was very well written, it just isn’t the style of book that I fall in love with, but the movie is so magical!  All of the characters were well portrayed and flashy and dramatic.  It also has a great soundtrack with  popular songs redone to fit the movie.

For those of you who have seen the movie what did you think of it?  For those of you who haven’t, you definitely need to!

I had been excited since last year for this movie and I certainly was not disappointed.  I can’t wait to see what he is going to do next.  Baz Lurhmann is beyond awesome!

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*Review* The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

The Fault in our Stars The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

313 pages

ISBN: 9780525478812

Read 1-15-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

This was my first time reading John Green and it definitely will not be the last.  This story was so beautiful, poignant and touching.  Very powerful.  It was also my first cancer book.  The author did so well portraying what it is like to be a cancer patient, especially from the female point of view.

Hazel was very strong, even though she was also very sick and Augustus could make anybody’s day bright with his playful quips and positive attitude.  As heartbreaking as this book was at points,  I also found myself laughing pretty hard in places, mainly because of Augustus.  I loved how witty he was.

The writing style was excellent and fluid.  It gave te story a poetic flow and nice sound as the performer read it.  This is one of my favorite audiobooks and you could really feel the emotion in all the right spots.  Even the accents were wonderfully done.   The whole book was simply beautiful and dealth with a tough subject in an incredible way.  I greatly look forward to all works by John Green and highly recommend this book to readers who want to have their heart touch by such a wonderful story.

Powerful, beautiful, amazing, have tissues.

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*Review* Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarry

 Pushing the Limits

Katie McGarry

384 pages

ISBN: 9780373210497

Read 7-31-12

Format: Adobe Digital Editions

Source: NetGalley

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So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

What can I say about this book?  It is beyond fantastic!  This book is so amazing and riveting and powerful and emotional and….I could go on for a while.  Point is, this one is a must read.  The story is wonderful and beautiful. Continue reading

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*Review* Chime – Franny Billingsley

 Chime

 Franny Billingsley

361 pages

ISBN: 9780803735521

Read 5-17-12

Source: Borrowed

Format: Audiobook

Before Briony’s stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family’s hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it’s become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

 Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He’s as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she’s extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn’t know.

This book was wonderful!  This one will definitely find it’s place on my Favorite Reads page.  Chime is an amazingly written tale that weaves a magical world and mystery throughout it.  There are so many secrets to unlock in this story with some surprising turn of events.  I did figure out a big discovery, but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable when the secret was revealed.

The writing was beautiful for this novel and the author is a painter with words!  It was perfectly written to give you the feel of being in an old town back in the days of witch trials and magic.  Briony’s voice is so rich and honest; she was a great main character.  She is a very strong female and looks out for others she cares about, especially her sister Rose, who was also a great character and brought a lot of quirkiness to the story.  As for Eldric, he was quite chivalrious and was so protective over Briony, you couldn’t help but like him.  And Cecil was one of the characters that you like to hate.

The reader for this book was fantastic as well and probably the second best reader I’ve heard so far.  Her English accent really made it feel like I was in way-back-when England and her voice changes were great for the different characters.  There was no point that I felt she was flat or boring.

The language usage was very unique.  There was a lot of purposeful repetition that made points more powerful or made things stand out better, and the descriptions were unlike a lot of what I’ve read, so it was new and great.  The story itself was incredible!  There was a lot to it that was powerful and beautiful and nerve-wrecking.  I look forward to the author’s other works.

Great characters, awesome story, powerful, beautifully written, wonderfully witchy tale!

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*Review* Anna and the French Kiss

 Anna and the French Kiss

Stephanie Perkins

372 pages

ISBN: 9780525423270

Read 4-7-12

Source: Own

Format: Paperback

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?  

     So what can I say about Anna and the French Kiss?  It was absolutely, brilliantly, marvelously AMAZING!!  I am so glad I lsitened to all of the bloggers who raved about this book because it is simply wonderwul.  I am definitely a fan of Stephanie Perkins now and will most likely read everything she publishes.
There are so many things that make this book great.  One thing is how realistic and relatable it is.  I’m reading this whole book thinking “Wow I have definitely been there before.”  The story is real, tbe place is real, the characters are real.  I feel like I really know these characters and I could tell you about them as if they were someone I’ve known for quite some time.  They may be fictional characters, but they have very real personalities.
Mmmm, St. Clair.  I was drooling over this boy from the first time Anna met him.  He has certainly become a new favorite book boyfriend.  He may even be #1!  Edward Cullen can suck it!  And how great was Anna?  Awesomely so.  Her freak outs, excitement, meltdowns, everything was put perfectly on the page.
The descriptions of Paris are lovely, and though I have been to France, I didn’t get the chance to see Paris.  It is a beautiful country and the author portays Paris beautifully.  I have to make sure I get to go back and visit Paris.  There have been books that have made me giggle here and there, but this book has me laughing so foten.  It was such a fun read and I look forward to her other novels.  This story will remind you of what it’s like to fall in love.

Fabulous characters, wonderful story, humorous, playful writing, MUST READ!!

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