Monday, May 30, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world. Isaac Marion website

I am a huge fan of anything zombie related and when Maggie Stiefvater suggested this book on her blog I knew that I was going to be a fan....and I was.  The story is from R's point of view and he is a zombie.  What makes this story different from other zombie stories out there is that even though R has difficulty communicating verbally he still has internal thoughts and in a weird way dreams of a "life" for himself.  R meets Julie one night when he goes out feeding with a group of fellow zombies.  He eats a portion of her boyfriend's brain and sees clips of his past with Julie and through these clips R feels instantly connected to Julie and keeps her safe from the other zombies.  R takes Julie to his home at the airport, hides her out in an abandoned plane and shows her his humanity as they talk and share stories from Julie's past and from what R can remember.  A lot of the time they bond of music, which I am always a sucker for. They have an unspoken hope for a better life for everyone. As the days go on Julie sees that R is different and begins to hope that their could be a change or cure when day to their current situation.

It was nice to see that even if one day the zombie apocalypse does happen we can still have a sense of humanity and a connection with other beings.  It was a strange love story between R and Julie but it was never not believable.  Isaac Marion really does a fantastic job of describing the details so that you feel what R feels. You see the destruction around him, but that you also see the beauty and hope that is surrounding him waiting to be found and nourished.

I also liked how this story really makes the reader think about their current lives and how we can be zombies ourselves.  Sitting back and watching our lives race before us or watching what happens to our world and never doing anything about it.  I was constantly putting the book down and reflecting on my own life.  I highly suggest this book to everyone.  You will not be disappointed!!!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Gossamer by S.L. Naeole

Let me start this particular review off by stating that I know that my first few reviews were especially rough. I am a work in progress and I appreciate all of you sticking with me while I learn to write better reviews. Now let's begin...

Gossamer by S.L. Naeole is the first in the Faeble series that centers around a young girl named Sophia Blythe. Sophia is a foster child that has finally settled into a family but hasn't necessarily found any peace.  She is struggling to overcome her notorious past while trying to imagine a future. 

There is a supernatural element but the best thing about this book is that it doesn't really center around it.  Naeole really thrusts the reader right into Sophia's world and it is immediately apparent that Sophia's biggest obstacles aren't anything supernatural but heartbreakingly human.

There are some plot points that are familiar but all have a great spin on them so they don't feel recycled. There is a new school and new love interest to create some conflict for Sophia, but as I stated- Naeole does this with such creativity that you truly don't know what to expect and will love every minute involved in trying to figure it out. 

I know that I have given a glowing, gushing review but I just have to state that of all the books I've read(a veritable ton) I just can't get over how much I love Naeole's style of writing. I feel like she writes books that make people(me) want to be a writer. So, yes, I gush. I have an author-crush and I implore all of you who enjoy romance, mystery and good old fashioned story-telling to check out all of her books. You can get them at and Or...if you don't think they are for you, I guarantee you have a friend who would love them. Ok, done gushing. :)


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eternal Eden by Nicole Williams

How do you review a book that you are really torn on? Eternal Eden by Nicole Williams has me perplexed. The beginning of this young adult book is not unlike most others out there. Good looking, mysterious, seemingly perfect guy shows up and sweeps 'normal' girl off of her feet. The problem with this standard setup is that I just couldn't feel the chemistry between the two main characters, Bryn and William.  Bryn was yelling at him when she first met him and then all of a sudden willing to die to hear his voice again.  Hmmm... In addition to that, the main character Bryn seemed to have continually contradicting descriptions put on her by the author. First Bryn is described as normal and somewhat introverted. Next she is described as somewhat dark because of her past. She is also explained to be average in the looks department and yet she seems to capture the attention of all the great looking guys around her. Add to this that she doesn't have much of a personality in the beginning and it is easy to understand why I was ready to end this book before it even got into the real plot.

Nevertheless, I decided to stick with this book because it was only .99 for the Kindle on and figured it had to get better.  The supernatural element was revealed- immortality. Not all that interesting considering how much fun an author could have with that idea. I'd say that about half way through the book, the plot got a little better but by no means was the reader ever really surprised by what was happening.  The end seemed to be where Williams really shined and set up a sequel quite nicely.

Here is where I am torn, how can I recommend a book that was only interesting for about 25% of the total book?  I can't. But I will give the sequel a chance and then let everyone know if trudging through the initial book is worth the trouble. I suppose part of me wants to give this new author a chance and see if the problems were just a part of being a first time author. Again, feel free to check it out but come back this summer for a review of her second book when it comes out and I'll let you know then if I can get behind this series. Thanks for reading! :)


Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Series That Could TRICK Anyone Into Learning!

I've thought a lot about books that I would have my daughter read when she is old enough and then when we started this blog, I realized we had some potential readers that are teachers. Due to this, I am taking a departure from the usual recommendation of a young adult book filled with romance and instead encouraging everyone to read the "Heroes of Olympus" series by Rick Riordan.  (This series isn't just for kids as I read this recently and clearly adore it but I am going to write this whole post with kids in mind) While I am definitely not a teacher, I have always thought that if I were to teach, English would have been my natural subject and I still think of books that would go with lessons. Weird? Maybe. But I think when you love to read, you think of all the different ways a book could be of use.  So here is me playing teacher for a few minutes and suggesting to all of you out there, homeschoolers or teachers in the 'classroom'-check out these awesome books.

You may have seen or heard about the movie Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. This is the first book in the series that follows the hero Percy Jackson on various quests. Seems simple enough but the entire series is based on the premise that Percy (short for Perseus) is a demi-god, son of Poseidon.  He never knew this and is suddenly plunged into a world he only thought of in mythological terms. Everything you remember about Greek Mythology and tons of stuff you never knew is incorporated brilliantly into these books.  As an adult, remembering all the stuff you learned years ago and building upon that is, well, pretty cool.  I simply can't say enough good things about this series. It would be perfect to introduce the initial book as a reading assignment in conjunction with teaching Greek Mythology.

It is obvious Riordan does an amazing amount of research and the way he melds old Greek lore with the 21st century is nothing short of genius.  As an adult reading this, you'll have so much fun seeing how he does this, as well as getting caught up in the adventures that you're already dreading the end!  Learning was never so much fun and I would have to say that this series is appropriate from about grade 6 and up. It is almost guaranteed that most readers of the first book will read the second.  The book would work best after giving the kids a base of knowledge and then letting them loose with the books. Be warned, you'll want to read the books first because the kids will konw way more than you when you are done!

Of all the books I have reviewed, I sincerely hope some of you read this series and let me know what you think. I would be shocked if you didn't love it!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Forever Trailer

Maggie Stiefvater has released the trailer for the third and last book in the Shiver series. I absolutely can't wait for the release of this book. If you haven't read the first two books I HIGHLY suggest you read them before July when Forever is released.

You can order the book here:
I know I already order my copy...I can't wait!!!

Also if you like the song you can purchase it here:

ENJOY!!! Bianca

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon has to be one of the most wonderfully surprising books I have read in a long time. While much of the basic format is similar to the many young adult books out there, the idea is unique and a lot of fun.  I am afraid to use the word but you will all have to trust me on this-zombies. Ok, not exactly zombies but a spin-off on the idea.  Just trust me...

Again, the basic premise is that the main character Renee is sent to a boarding school after her parents mysteriously die. All is not well at this boarding school and students have died. Enter the smokin' hot, mysterious love interest, Dante.  I have to add that even if the name seems to be made for this genre, I LOVE this name and it suits the persona of this character perfectly. Ok, back to the story...

Renee feels a pull towards dead things. As in, she is actually compelled to whatever area this dead thing is, be it a dead animal or a dead human.  Clearly the driving force of this plot is Renee's need to discover why kids at her school have died, her kinship with dead things, and what this means for her relationship with Dante. 

I'm not big on giving much of the plot away but I just love the way Woon works a potentially creepy idea into something romantic.  The plot moves along naturally and I never once wished it would speed up or slow down.  I also really appreciated how Woon spent enough time describing things but you never get bogged down in two pages of describing a minute detail.  Her writing showcases her talent and doesn't need unnecessary fluff to prove she can write. (Note to writers-try not to show off, most of us just want to skip those parts anyways) 

As the plot moves towards the end, the only fault I find is the ending seems to be a bit contradictory to what we learned earlier in the book. I have read that there will be a sequel and I only have to hope and assume that the ending will be addressed right away.  This book is completely age appropriate if a true 'young adult' is reading this. I would say that anywhere ages 13 and up could appreciate the storyline and older readers will appreciate the subtle ideas brought up.

If I were to grade this book, I would give a an A-/B+  I can't give a mark like this out lightly, so it is true testament to how much I enjoyed this book and hope you all do as well.  Please let me know if you end up reading this and give me some feedback, I'd love to know if you agree/disagree with me!


P.S. I hadn't read the book Need by Carrie Jones and I have to say, Bianca picked out a fabulous book and I read all three in the series and fell in love. You've got to check them out! :)