Tilt By Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction and Young Adult

Release Date: September 11, 2012

Pages: 604 (hard cover)

Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year—and decides to keep the baby?Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing that his life, too, will be shortened?

Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.

(My Opinion)

I was expecting more from this book because the synopsis is really well written. Kind of a let down, it falls short and might disappoint.  Sean is the most interesting to me because he has a lot more obstacles to overcome than Mikayla and Harley. He’s different and strong in ways that not very many people think he’s capable of. In her usual books, the characters jump off the pages. The main characters are pretty stiff and a bit lifeless. I wasn’t freaking out the way I expected myself to. I didn’t freak out very much to be honest.

There’s too many people getting their share of opinions. Instead of  just the three main characters, there are a lot of secondary characters who get a page with their opinions on things (complete random shit that is irrelevant to the story by the way). At first it’s fine because the first few people who get their opinions told are important to the stories like boyfriends and family members. Somewhere in the middle of this story, I think that Ellen Hopkins ran out of steam and started giving completely random characters an opinion about things that don’t matter. The ending ruins most of the book. I wanted more but instead got nothing and I’m pissed off.

Tilt still has Ellen Hopkins’s special touch with the characters going through different problems and having different lives. I really like the writing style because it’s smooth and very graphic while still leaving the readers to use their imagination. Fans of her previous books might be disappointed. I wouldn’t recommend this book as your first Ellen Hopkins choice.

three ah 3.5 Dreamy Clouds

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Uncommon Criminals

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 21, 2011

Pages: 298

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

(My Opinion)

The story is told from third person and mostly focuses on Kat. There are new characters, adventure, and lots of conning. In very rare cases, a sequel will be better than the first but sadly, this book doesn’t beat out Heist Society. There are too many twists and some of the new characters are stiff and chalky. Even though I love the idea behind this book (Cleopatra is pretty awesome) and the obstacles Kat and her crew faces, it seems like half of the story is stiff while the other half is about family.

There’s a few things that I don’t enjoy about this book because I know that Ally Carter could have done a better job. In the first book, I didn’t mind the repetition of how amazing these kids are but in the second book, I find that it’s just too much and gets annoying really fast. Not only does the repetition bother me, but so does the romance between Kat and Hale. It’s so stiff and boring. Even when Kat freaks out over stupid things, I didn’t feel much. The ending is a bit of a disappointment because it seems a bit disorganized and messy. Nothing is properly put into place so it’s easy to get confused and bored. I think Ally Carter put so much time into making the heist itself perfect that she forgot that her characters are supposed to jump off of the pages.

I still really love her writing style. Like I mentioned before, the heist itself is good, there are a lot of obstacles that keeps you entertained. And the relationship between Kate and Maggie because they are very alike yet very different. I also like that Kat gets her ass handed to her by someone she barely knows.

Fans of Heist Society might be disappointed with this. I still recommend it because this is still an Ally Carter novel. I’m hoping that Perfect Scoundrels, the third book in this series, will be the best book yet.

 3.5 dreamy clouds

 34 Pieces Of You by Carmen Rodrigues

Publisher: Simon&Schuster

Genre: Contemporary and young adult

Release Date: September 4 2012

Pages: 336 (hard cover)

There was something about Ellie… Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along….

(My Opinion)

A story about pain and getting over a big part of your life when all you want to do is let go. In this story, there are three different perspectives—Jake’s, Jess’, and Sarah’s. They are told before and after the incident. Each of them go through different phases on Ellie’s death and how it effected them. I like the idea for this story because it’s simple yet pretty complex. The characters are okay and easy to swallow  some of them are typical and boring while others are so interesting and full of life. Out of the three of them, Jake is my favourite because he plays a very huge role in this book and he’s the only one I feel for. Also, the ending isn’t anything special, it’s typical and I didn’t feel for it at all.

The notes that Carmen Rodrigues puts at the beginning of each chapter is really cool but also really confusing. Instead of making it obvious which character Ellie is talking about, most of the notes could be about more than one and I didn’t know who or what was happening between Ellie or what she felt. I also don’t like that there isn’t a clear line to what had happened to Ellie. I wish that what happened to her was actually put in the story because after finishing the book, I’m still left with unanswered questions. The characters of Jess and Sarah are not very interesting. I don’t like Sarah because she felt like words on paper, not much about her stands out and I didn’t feel sad for her when I probably should have. Jess didn’t feel relevant to the story until somewhere in the middle. Nothing about her told me she belonged when the story first starts. I wish Carmen Rodrigues made Jess stronger from the beginning instead of putting the important parts near the ending.

34 Pieces Of You has really short chapters. I could finish about fifty pages without even realizing it because the chapters are short and easy to swallow. I love the writing style, the words aren’t choppy or awkward. For the most part, they fit and make sense. The cover art is amazing! It really pulls me in. The cover goes well with the description the book gives of Ellie which makes me happy too.

Overall, this book is an okay read. There isn’t very many funny moments because it’s a serious topic, but the chapters are short and the writing is well written. I would recommend this to anyone who likes books about serious topics and getting over the past that are told from different perspectives.
 3.5 Dreamy Clouds

Heist Society By Ally Carter

Publisher: Hyperion Disney

Genre: Adventure and Young Adult

Release Date: February 9, 2010

Pages: 287 (hard cover)

Goodreads

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie travelled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

(My Opinion)

An adventurous mission with a lot of twists and surprises and a complicated romance? With a bunch of teens? The reasons why Ally Carter is one of my favourite authors is beautifully shone in this novel. I felt for Kat and her crew throughout. The writing is smooth, enjoyable, and kind of perfect. Heist Society is like a teen version of Ocean’s eleven or Catch That Kid. Only more badass with characters that stick with you long after the book is done. They all feel real, like I was watching this in a movie theatre or quietly watching from a distance while its being told. The ending was not what I was expecting either.

The only thing that I probably didn’t like about this book is how little the relationship between Kat and Nick is. I wish the relationship between them formed a little bit more.

There is a mysterious grace that Kat Bishop has and it makes everyone around feel intimidated. She’s strong, determined, and is as quiet as a cat. I flew through this book because it’s fast paced with so much happening that I couldn’t put it down. Heist Society made me laugh more than once and also pulled on my heart-strings. I love the mystery that surrounds Hale and his family because it kept me guessing throughout the book about how his life was before he met Kat. The many twists and turns was easy for me to follow the ride along with her. I love that Ally Carter decided to write the book in third person too because I get to know the story from some of the other characters’ perspectives.

Even though I only shed a few tears for this book, it is still an amazing read, one that I will never forget. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good heist book that will defiantly keep you entertained and surprise you. I am anxiously awaiting the third book in this series, Perfect Scoundrels which will be out next year February.

 5 Dreamy clouds

Team Human

By: Justine Larabalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: HarperTeen (Harpercollins)

Genre: Fantasy and young adult

Release Date: July 3 2012

Pages: 352

(Summary from Goodreads)

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

(My Opinion)

3.7/5-Team Human is told from the perspective of Mel. We learn a reasonable amount about her life and how much she hates vampires. I have to say that I thought this book was going to turn out completely different from what it actually is. Vampire stories have been popular for quite a while now, so I thought this one was going to be the same as the others. It’s different because instead of Mel liking the vampire, it’s her best friend, Cathy who actually likes him. There was a lot of repetition of how much Mel hates vampires in the story and it got pretty annoying. The characters are funny and easy to read about. I loved Mel’s sense of humour even though I didn’t like her motives of keeping Cathy away from her boyfriend.

Usually, best friend are very supportive of each other and try to help one another. I didn’t like Mel’s intentions in the story because it’s harsh and is sending out a pretty mean message—You can only date people your best friend approves of. I wished the authors chose a different idea because this one agitated me a lot. I also didn’t like that Mel acted like a spoiled brat for most of the book. She’s very hot-headed, angry, and loves to yell.

Team Human is a light-hearted read (for the most part). I finished it in a day because I found both Kit and Mel hilarious. I really enjoyed the writing style for this book because it’s smooth and organized. Also, I liked that Mel is Asian! There aren’t many fantasy stories where the main character doesn’t have, “deathly pale skin.”

Overall, a pretty good read. I would recommend it to people who enjoy vampire books and are looking for an unexpected ending.

The Forsaken By Lisa M. Stasse

Simon & Schuster Publishing For Young Adults

 Publication Date: July 10, 2012

Pages: 375 (hard cover)

Genre: Young Adult

 2.5/5-This book was such a let down. Alenna is too annoying for me to put up with.

(Summary from Goodreads)

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high-capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

(My Opinion)

The Forsaken is told from the perspective of Alenna Shawcross. The idea for this story isn’t original, it has been done multiple times before by other books/movies. Almost all of the characters were boring and I didn’t feel sorry for them when I should have. Lisa M. Stasse’s writing was very odd. To me, it felt like she wanted this story to be in third person but instead wrote it in first which made it choppy and annoying.Alenna Shawcross is a very typical character. Nothing about her stood out to me which didn’t help the book.

Alenna plays the guitar, she doesn’t fit in anywhere, nobody noticed her before she was on the wheel. I didn’t feel connected to her at all. It wasn’t until things started to speed up and romance started to blossom that I started to dislike Alenna a lot. She had never kissed a boy before the wheel or had a boyfriend, so, how does she know she’s in love after only a month of being on the wheel? That really agitated me. It agitated me because the relationship is very new yet she’s sure of her feelings after a month. Not realistic at all.

The Forsaken reminds me of so many other medias that I enjoyed a lot more than this like: The lord of the flies, V for Vendetta, Divergent, and Blade just to name a few. There was barely anything original about it. In the first chapter we learn a lot about Alenna and her life as well as other things. There was too much explanation in the first chapter which made me lose interest a bit. I didn’t know what exactly was going to happen in the end, but it was easy to predict a very typical ending that did not leave very much interest for me to want to read the next book in this series.

There was very little that I actually enjoyed about this book and one of the things I liked were the drones. I liked the drones because they were reckless, fearless, and very stupid. They destroyed everything they touched yet didn’t care in the slightest. The cover art is beautifully done as well and that really drew me in. I love how it goes well with the idea of the government controlling everyone and everything.There are a lot of dystopian books out there but this one would not be anywhere near the top of my list. Fans of The Hunger Games may like this but may also dislike this book like I did. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you want to read a remake of The Hunger Games and Lord Of The Flies.

The Thing About The Truth By Lauren Barnhold

2/5-Out of all the books that I’ve read by Lauren Barnholdt (which is three), this story was my least favourite. Yes, it beat out Aces Up for number one book that sucked. I still can’t believe that I finished this book when all I wanted to do was put it down and never look at it ever again. (This review will be longer than my others because I have so much to say.)

(Summary from Goodreads)

Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before…But nothing’s ever perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.

(My Opinion)

The Thing About The Truth is told from the perspectives of Isaac and Kelsey. It’s told before and after the incident (Face It Down Day) in both of their perspectives. It was pretty cool that there were four mini stories in one book. But the idea was typical and boring, nothing stood out. The characters were choppy and annoying, I felt like Lauren Barnholdt didn’t develop her characters well and that the main characters were contradicting themselves as well as boring. Without many facts about their past. Out of the two of them, I disliked Kelsey the most because she was just plain annoying and whiny.

Kelsey Romando was the worst character out of the two of them with her trying to be a good student at the public school. The character of Kelsey wasn’t as good as she was trying to be, she wasn’t a bad ass either because she was kind of uptight. She was very annoying, whiny, and stupid for the most part. She told stupid lies and became attracted to Isaac because he was a ‘bad boy’.

Isaac Bernardo was not a bad ass. Yes, he did punch a few people but that was it. Lauren Barnholdt was trying to get the point across that Isaac was dark and mysterious but instead he was just a guy who listened to everything Kelsey told him to do (what kind of bad boy listens to what other people say?). Isaac quickly lost his interesting qualities once him and Kelsey got too comfortable with each other. He turned into a lovesick puppy too quickly and too suddenly that it annoyed me a lot.

The writing style was really annoying because it was written as if it was a diary, so they both talked a lot about things that didn’t matter. For most of the story, whenever it switched to Kelsey’s point of view, Lauren Barnholdt would start the chapter with the word, “okay”. Almost every time and I get pretty irritated about it. After reading the synopsis, this sounded pretty good but the story is almost completely different from what I thought it would be in a bad sense because the story was boring. Also, I wished that there was more drama and action surrounding “Face It Down” day. The whole story surrounds what happened that day but it really let my hopes down because only two things happened and then they almost got expelled. The sad part was, no one would have gotten into as much trouble as Kelsey or Isaac did for throwing a punch.

“Face It Down” day was a huge disappointment full of snobby girls acting like they were royalty and boys getting jealous over one girl. The ending of The Thing About The Truth was very typical. I honestly knew what was going to happen when I was only halfway done the book. There were no surprises, not very much action, and they were angry at each other over petty mistakes. And do not be fooled by this amazing cover because it doesn’t go with the characters at all. They look completely different which irritated me a bit because they cover of books always helps me to visualize the characters better.

There was very little that I actually enjoyed about this book. One of those things was that the story went back and forth between the two characters as well as told the story before and after the incident. I thought that was really cool because you got the whole entire story that way. Even though I didn’t like The Thing About The Truth very much, I’m still very excited to read Two Way Street.