Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Paperback: 302 pages
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
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Reading Level: 14 and Up
Series: Yes (Blue Bloods)
Published: March 27, 2007
Language: English 
Buy: Amazon

From Amazon:

Schuyler Van Alen is confused about what is happening to her. Her veins are starting to turn blue, and she's starting to crave raw meat. Soon, her world is thrust into an intricate maze of secret societies and bitter intrigue. Schuyler has never been a part of the trendy crowd at her prestigious New York private school. Now, all of a sudden, Jack Force, the most popular guy in school, is showing an interest in her. And when one of the popular girls is found dead, Schuyler and Jack are determined to get to the bottom of it. 

Schuyler wants to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger? Melissa de la Cruz's vampire mythology, set against the glitzy backdrop of New York City, is a juicy and intoxicating read. 

Before I write anything, I've gotta say, I don't think that description really fits the book very well... I mean, it tells you what's happening but I feel like it's also super misleading. Maybe it's just me.

ANYWAY. I've been sitting here trying to figure out if I like this book. I finished it Sunday and ever since I've been thinking about it quite a bit. The bad, the good, the whatever. I think I've come to a conclusion, though. 

It was okay. I liked it but it wasn't anything special. 

I really liked the cover. That's what made me pick it up in the first place ( like five years ago ) because as much as they say not to, I judge a book by it's cover. It's so pretty and I'm always a sucker for skylines. It really gives clues to what the story's about. There's the pearls, the girl, the bite marks! And, of course, the skyline of New York. Did I mention I really love skylines? And I'd have no problem visiting New York again. :)
Like I said, I got this book like five years ago when, I guess, it first came out? That was during my whole read everything vampire stage. Unfortunately, it didn't capture my attention at the time. I was bored with the whole fashion and rich life that I was reading, so I quit before the third chapter. When I left home for spring semester, I figured, what the hey. I'll bring it and maybe try to read it again! So when I started my own little ABC challenge for my I've Had Forever But Never Read books I put Blue Bloods in as Book Starting With B. 

I didn't really feel connected with any of the characters. I liked most of them, though. Maybe it's because I'm not rich or something like that, but I just didn't connect. I liked Oliver and Bliss. They were fun little side/main characters. I loved Mimi! I loved how... mean she was. How she knew she was like Queen Bee. And her brother, Jack! Oooh, I want to see where that relationship goes! Schuyler I didn't like. She was too cliche for my taste. The emo girl who looks like she lives on the streets but is still always beautiful. has no parents, and doesn't fit in with anyone at her school. Also, she didn't seem to have any character flaws. Too perfect for me. 

Other than the characters, I liked the types of vampires de la Cruz created. The Blue Bloods seemed really creative and I liked the history and backgrounds of them. I loved the idea of being reborn but still having the same memories. The only part that I thought was a little ridiculous and rushed was the angel part. I'm sure we'll get more into it in the coming books, though. With vampires, I feel like you have a lot of freedom to make it your own and that's what she definitely did. 

Overall, I liked the book. I know a lot of people don't like the name brands being mentioned every couple of lines but since I'm fashion-stupid, it didn't really bother me. It takes a while for the story to actually get going but I guess that's the way it is with series books, right? It didn't really mention vampires or anything until well into the book but I figured out pretty much everything that was going on without it. It was a quick read and if you love vampires, I'm sure you'll like this book.

Thanks for reading. :) 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Abarat by Clive Barker

Paperback: 477 pages
Author: Clive Barker
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Reading Level: Ages 13 and up
Series: Yes (The Books of Abarat)
Published: HarperCollins, October 2002 
Language: English
Buy: Amazon

From Amazon:

A journey beyond imagination is about to unfold....
It beings in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, USA. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold.
When the answer comes, it's not the one she expects. 
Welcome to Abarat, a cast archipelago where ever island is a different hour of the day. Candy has a place in this extraordinary land: She is here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at its heart-forces older than Time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered. She's a strange heroine, she knows. But this a strange world. 
And in the Abarat, all things are possible. 
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This review is going to be a little short. I finished this book like a week ago, right when all my tests an papers were starting to pick up so forgive me. My memory's faded a bit. :(

I wasn't sure I'd like this book very much when I first started it. I'm not much a description person and this book has like a billion descriptions but Candy's in a completely new world with really strange and unusual creatures! So, of course, the book needed them. But like I said, I'm not a description person. Even though I moved reallyyyy sloooow through those parts, I still have a great mental image of what this world looks like! It was mostly the beginning that was like this so once you get past Chickentown ( the name just sounds boring right?! I was rooting for Candy to get out of there as soon as possible! ) and the first bit of being in Abarat, it picks right back up!

Unless you love descriptions ( like my best friend ) then you'll love that part.

Did you know this was originally practically a picture book!? I wish I had that one, too. If you don't have the one with pictures, never fear! Clive Barker has pictures up on his website. I found myself scrolling through the pictures for ages just wanting to stare at them.

Anyway, other than that, I really liked this book! I loved the side characters. They were all so interesting and funny looking! I think Jimothi and Malingo were my favorite. Actually, I liked them all! I even liked the backstory to the villain. Like it was suppose to give you some sort of understanding and maybe some sympathy but at the same time, you're still like oh my gosh this dude is psychooooo.

Candy really grew on me. At first, I was super confused how old she was and a bit clueless on what she looked like. Not to mention, she didn't really come off as anything that would stick out to me at the beginning. Once she was in Abarat and away from terrible little Chickentown, I knew I'd like her. There was one part when she was running away from some little creatures and she was tempted to turn around and tell them to shut up. I think that was one of my favorite Candy part of the book.

There's some moments where the book is a little dark. The author actually writes horror movies! But I didn't think they were anything that would scare someone away from a book. The villains were creepy, Candy's home life was horrid, and the way some creatures were treated was cruel. Then again, I'm always up for a good scary movie!

Everyone seems to be comparing this book to Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Seuss, and the Wizard of Oz. I guess I can see that. It's definitely a quirky, interesting new world like most of those books. I'd recommend this book to people who loved new worlds, a bit of a darker side, or little quirky things.

I'm probably not going to get the second book until I'm home for the summer, ( sad face ) but I'm super excited to get it! I can't wait to see how everything's tied together with each other.

Thanks for reading. :)  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

Paperback: 128 pages
Author: Linda Sue Park
Reading Level: Ages 10 and up
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 15, 2010
Language: English
Buy: Amazon

From Amazon:

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is a two hours' walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond ever day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor and his story goes on to interest with Nya's in an astonishing and moving way. 

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This semester of college, I decided to join a book club class. The description made it sound super awesome and we're going to read all sorts of new and exciting books, yada yada yada. So when I got to class and the teacher started talking and explaining that we were reading kids books from Africa or the Middle East and other places like that, I kind of deflated. I didn't think children's books were very exciting. Boy was I proven wrong.

This book was so heartbreaking, uplifting, touching, horrifying, every emotion ever. Salva is a young boy growing up with war all around him. One day at school, soldiers come in and Salva has to run away from everything he knows. For years, he's walking across deserts, living in horrible refugee camps, trying to find his family, and dealing with being alone. It was heartbreaking to think of a young boy actually having to go through with this. The worst is that it actually happened and is happening everywhere.

Nya lived in a different time but it was still oh so sad. Her job was to walk to and from a pond, hours and miles away just to get dirty water for her family. She never complained or protested. It was just the way it had to be for her family. Her part of the story was much smaller with only two, at the most, paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter. Still, it had a lasting impression on me. You had to walk hours every day to gather water that could ultimately kill you.

This book really made me grateful for things I have. I have clean water. I don't have to worry about having to run in the middle of the night to survive. I have food, school, my family. Salva got excited over a little mango. That was such a rare treat for him when I can drive to Wal-Mart and pick up a dozen right now. Salva had to walk great distances to go to school and Nya couldn't even attend. I'm in college now, dreading the early mornings I have to wake up get moving.

One part that really broke my heart was a line during Nya's part. She was talking about her rival tribe, which Salva was actually a part of, and mentioned something about how the only reason you could tell the difference between the two tribes were the markings on their faces. For 21 years and millions of people dead, there was a terrible civil war and all because someone had different markings on their faces. It broke my heart.

I loved this book. It was a short read but I was definitely recommend it to anyone. Also, if you would like to donate money to help get clean water to Sudan, here's the website:

Water for South Sudan

Thank you for reading my review!