Waiting on Wednesday (13) – Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss

Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
To be released: December 2, 2010
Summary (from Goodreads):
Anna was 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. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
All I’ve heard about this book is good things. It sounds really good and something right up my alley. I cannot wait to read it, and I know if I don’t, I will probably have some people kindly force me to read this book.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Review: Mockingjay *Spoiler Free*

Mockingjay
Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 24, 2010
Pages: 390
Ratings: 3 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans — except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay — no matter what the personal cost.
Like everyone else, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Mockingjay.It was my first night at college the night it was released and I downloaded Mockingjay on my Nook since no stores around me where having midnight releases. I stayed up until 5:15am in the morning reading this book and had to be up by 6:30am. Sadly, I felt that staying up that late was not worth it after reading Mockingjay
As the title says, there will be no spoilers, because I know some people still haven’t read it, but I must say, Mockingjay fell extremely short of my expectations. This book, in my opinion, didn’t feel right. Something was off. I felt that this book didn’t belong in a series with the previous two books, everything felt different. What really bothered me was that the characters that we grew to love and to know in the first two books felt extremely different in this book. Interactions between Katniss and Gale and Peeta were extremely awkward and Katniss felt like a different character completely. I understand that the actions from the previous two books impacted Katniss and definitely made the tone of this book darker, but I felt that at times, characters we knew were almost completely new characters.
I was so disappointed in this book. The plot was extremely slow and definitely didn’t have the pacing of the previous two books. I felt a lot of the plot could have been cut or condensed into shorter scenes too, which annoyed me. I felt that Katniss spent way to much time in this books knocked out, asleep, drugged up or moping around. I missed the action and the intense, heart wrenching scenes from the previous books. The emotional impact of this book was severely lacking, I didn’t even shed a tear when certain events happened. The only time I felt like crying was at the end because the book was over. I feel a lot of the deaths/events were overlooked or brushed over, making the event not as sad as it was or should have been.
And now we get to the epilogue. While I don’t wish to spoil the book for those who haven’t read it, I must say that the first thing that popped into my mind when reading the epilogue was “This reminds me of the Deadly Hallows epilogue”. I had the same emotional reaction to it as Harry Potter and if felt eerily similar which bothered me a lot.
I feel that if this novel was not the last Hunger Games novel, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. However, it was the last one in an amazing series, a series of which I am a HUGE fan. I was just sadly disappointed that this was the way Suzanne Collins decided to end such a fantastic series. While Mockingjay was not what I expected and probably my least favorite series in the book, I do respect Suzanne Collins and I understand why she did what she did and why she ended the series the way she did. I just wish that it could have been different. This book was just not up to par with the AWESOME of the previous two novels, however, it is a book I will reread again since it is the conclusion to one of my favorite series. I just wish things could have gone differently and lived up to the awesome I was expecting.

Waiting on Wednesday (12) – The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials

James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
To be released: October 12, 2010
Summary (from Goodreads):
The Maze was only the beginning…
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety… until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated–and with it, order–and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim… and meal.
The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Thomas can only wonder–does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
I loved the Maze Runner (it was one of the ten books I brought to college with me) and since finishing the book I have been dying to find out what happens next. I’m extremely excited for the sequel to the Maze Runner. I’m hoping to attend a signing with James Dashner in October right after the release of this book, which makes me even more excited. Cannot wait to read this.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Review: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little Brown/ Poppy
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Pages: 288
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
I was lucky enough to find this book early at my local Barnes and Noble the day before I was to leave for college. This book kept me up until I could finish it. The DUFF was a great debut from such a young, talented new author.
I loved the characters in this book. Bianca is such a strong, female narrator and has such a great personality. I could totally relate to Bianca and her feelings at being labeled a DUFF, I mean, what girl couldn’t relate? Bianca was a incredibly strong character who stuck to her gut no matter what. She would say what she was thinking, even if it was a bit harsh because that is who she is. I really loved that Bianca had layers too. She was like an teenage girl with her friends, but like most people, was different at home and had issues at home that she kept from those she trusts most. I liked that she wasn’t cookie cutter perfect, and that she too, had flaws like any other girl.
While the story at times felt a bit predictable, I still really loved it. The romance between Bianca and Wesley was feisty and hot. I loved to seeing their relationship move from just sex into something more. I must warn, that this book is not suitable for younger teens. There is sex in this book, which is bound to get it challenged at some point, but it makes sense to the story. This whole book is driven by Bianca and her strong, tell it as it is character, making it extremely interesting to read scenes between her and Welsey, the jerk who labeled her a DUFF in the first place.
The DUFF is a highly relatable read for teens, while offering everything one wants in a YA contemporary romance. Everyone, at one point or another feels like a DUFF, a finds it easy to relate to Bianca and her situation. I never heard of a DUFF before this book,  and immediately after reading it, I saw someone call their friend the DUFF of the group on facebook, proving that people do think they are the DUFF, or the unworthy ones of their groups. This book helps show that girls have insecurities about themselves, but they aren’t alone. Kody Keplinger did an excellent job and making a book so relatable to teens. I cannot wait to see what she writes next!

Review: Infinite Days

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen #1)
Rebecca Maizel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Pages: 310
Ratings: 4.5 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have — to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.
Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?
Infinite Days has become one of my favorite new books this year. I have gone completely fan girl over this novel. In a genre dominated with the same type of stereotypical vampires, ones who make life as a vampire sexy and attractive, Rebecca Maizel puts a new spin on vampires, one that teaches redemption and what it means to live. I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I gasped, and I loved this book. I really loved this book and I’m struggling to put exactly how much I loved it into words
From the first chapter, Rebecca Maizel had me sucked into the story. I loved that, instead of desiring to be a vampire, like so many characters in books now want, Lenah wants to escape from just that and, instead, desires humanity. I loved Rebecca Maizel’s vampires. Her spin on vampires was intriguing. Vampires in Lenah’s world have no feeling, they are numb, empty shells with echoes of emotions and sensations. Lenah misses her humanity and desires to feel more than just numb; she wants to experience all the emotions and sensations that she recalls from being human. Luckily, Lenah has Rhode who loves her and is willing to sacrifice himself for her happiness. Lenah’s story starts here, in present day with Rhode’s sacrifice. Rebecca Maizel however is able to show Lenah’s previous life and life as a vampire through beautifully written flashbacks to certain events in her history that correspond to what is going on in her human life.
While I can go on and on about how this book is not simply a vampire book, but about making up for misdeeds and redeeming oneself, I will move onto more important stuff, like the other reasons I loved this book, like the characters, the writing and the plot. While reading this book, I feel in love immediately with two of the many boys in Lenah’s life. The two boys I loved where not the ones I thought I would end up loving when I started reading this book. These two lovely guys are Tony and Vicken. Tony, was by far, my favorite character in the book. I loved Tony. I was constantly wishing that Lenah would dump Justin and go with Tony, the artistic, funny one. And, Vicken….phew. I thought I’d be more of a Rhode fan, but something about Vicken, drew me in, probably because he was cast as the villain at times. All of Rebecca Maizel’s characters were extremely well written and each unique in there all way. Her characters and their relationships drove the story forward, without them, the story would not exist.
This novel was beautifully written and captivating. I was drawn in from page one and got sucked in more and more as the story continued. And the ending, boy, that ending was amazing. Infinite Days is a great first novel in a series, and if the following books are anything like this first book, this series is going to be amazing. I cannot wait to see where Rebecca Maizel takes Lenah and the rest of the characters in this series in the following books and am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. 

Waiting on Wednesday (11) – Drought

Drought           
Pam Bachorz
Publisher: Egmont USA
To be released: January 11, 2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.
She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.
So she stays.
But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known?
First off, I want to say that I love this cover! It’s so pretty. The focus on eyes is a new trend in YA covers.
I cannot wait to read Pam Bachorz’s second novel, Drought. I loved Candor her first novel and have been awaiting her second novel. The story sounds fascinating and unique.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.