Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This story is about a high school girl named Macy and her mother, who are still struggling with the sudden death of Macy's father, which occurred a year and a half prior to the start of the book.  Instead of living their lives, they have established a routine.  Both her mother and her boyfriend Jason are control freaks.  They want everything in their lives to be perfect.  For her mother, it is a defense mechanism.  Rather than deal with her feelings of loss she has thrown herself into her work and expects nothing short of perfection from both herself and her daughter.

We learn throughout this book that perfection is not necessarily desirable.  Once Macy meets a team of caterers (Delia, Bert, Wes, Monica, and Kristy) and starts working for them, she sees what has been missing from her life since her father's death.  She finally develops true friendships and begins to live her life on her own terms.  Catering is a very chaotic business and she soon thrives in dealing with the unexpected.

One night, Wes and Macy begin a game of truth.  It is like truth or dare, but there are no dares.  They ask each other questions and the only rule is that they must tell the truth.  The game continues whenever they are together and they become very close friends.  They learn that they have far more in common with one another than Macy first thought.  They are both in relationships that are sort of on hold, so there isn't any pressure on their relationship.  Macy feels that they are just really good friends, but she eventually can't deny that her feelings for him are more than that, but is it too late?

I really enjoy Sarah Dessen's style of writing and found this to be another exceptional story.  Both of her books that I have read have had a wonderful message to them.  The characters are far from perfect, but they all have so much personality.  I will definitely read another one of her books and I would highly recommend this one.  I gave it 4 stars on GoodReads, but it is really worth 4.5 stars.  If there was a little more Noah Shaw or Lucas Delos to this story, I definitely would have given it 5 stars.  A little more detail towards the end of the book about the love story is all that was needed for me to give it 5 stars.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection was a little confusing for me at first.  The first few pages refer to people as a number.  America is a five, Aspen is a Six, etc.  I quickly discovered there is a caste system within Illea, a post World War 3 futuristic America, and the lower the number the higher your status. 

At the beginning of the story we meet America and Aspen, who have been secretly dating for the past two years.  They are planning on getting married, but this is a big no no since they are not from the same caste.  Her parents will most likely not approve of someone from a lower caste and Aspen doesn't feel that he can provide for her.

This is when the letters announcing The Selection arrive.  Prince Maxon is now of age and would like to find a wife and future queen of Illea.  Every eligible woman within a certain age range can enter a lottery to be selected as the candidate from her region.  Aspen talks America into signing up for The Selection because he truly wants her to have a better life.  America agrees because she feels the chances of her being selected are one in a million.  Once she is not selected, she plans on marrying Aspen.

Of course...America is selected.  She is soon living at the palace with 34 other contestants competing for the Prince's affection.  It was very much like the bachelor, but America and Prince Maxon soon develop an unusual friendship given the circumstances.  She slowly realizes that her feelings for Maxon may be more than just friends and she is emotionally caught in a love triangle.  She needs to sort out her feelings for Aspen and Maxon and decide what is ultimately best for her. 

The royal family and Illea are under rebel attack, so there is an element of danger which comes with being one of the royals.  There is another twist that develops involving Aspen, which complicates issues even further for America.

I have to admit...I am 100% Team Maxon.  He is very sweet and not at all what America or I anticipated his character would be like.  While the selection is all about Maxon selecting a wife, I think the selection will ultimately come down to America selecting a husband.  If she doesn't end up choosing Maxon, I will be crushed.  She can relate to the people, has already provided Maxon with sound advice he has used to run the country, and will make an AMAZING queen.  Much like Princess Diana, she could be the next People's Princess. 

The Elite, the second book in this planned trilogy, is scheduled to be released April 23, 2013.  I am ecstatic about this because I will be able to get a signed copy at the RT Convention next May.  Kiera Cass was at last year's convention and will be in attendance again this year.  After reading The Selection, I can't believe I passed up the opportunity to meet her last year.  I certainly will not make this same mistake twice. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

For those of you who have not read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, here is a link to my review.  It was an AMAZING book, so you can imagine how excited I was to get my hands on this latest installment.

The Evolution resumes where The Unbecoming left off.  There was an incident that occurred at the end of the first book, which results in yet another hospital admission for Mara.  The medical staff would like to send her to a Residential Treatment Center, but her parents want to give outpatient treatment one last try.  I was very excited about this because it keeps my favorite character, Noah Shaw, in the picture. 

On Mara's first day at Horizons outpatient program she discovers that her friend from Croyden, Jamie, is also receiving treatment there.  This is one of the few bright spots about this facility.  There are a few VERY crazy characters...Phoebe being the most disturbing...who enter the scene and wreak havoc on Mara's well-being while at the facility.

Jude is a perpetual problem once again throughout this book.  The readers are left guessing whether or not Jude really exists or if it is all related to Mara's apparent "condition."  We quickly learn that Mara and Noah may have issues, but they certainly are not crazy.  They continue to discover more about their abilities and we learn just how misunderstood they are.  They are well aware that telling the truth sounds crazy, but it IS the truth.  Everyone is just too short sighted to even consider the fact that it could be real and the stakes are escalating.    

Towards the end of the book I REALLY felt sorry for Noah and Mara.  I think they could have a somewhat normal relationship if these outside factors were not in existence.  I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will simply say that I loved EVERYTHING about this book.  The way Noah understands and believes Mara and how she begins to see through his protective shell was the highlight of this book for me.  There is also one exceptional date night, which I can only hope there will be more of in The Retribution of Mara Dyer. 

The final installment in the series is scheduled to be release next fall.  I just hope that Noah and Mara will get the last laugh when this series is all said and done.  They have been through SO much and deserve a happily ever after.     

Monday, November 5, 2012

Second Chance by Katie Kacvinsky

I have read and LOVED all three of Katie Kacvinsky's novels.  Awaken, First Comes Love, and now Second Chance.  If you have not read her books, you are without question missing out.  I am not over exaggerating.  I included her as one of my top 5 favorite authors in a post for Book Nerds Across America a couple of months ago and she did not disappoint with her latest work.

When I started Second Chance, I was under the impression this would be the final book in the series.  First Comes Love was supposed to be a standalone novel, so I never imagined it would turn into a trilogy. The story was not taking the path I had expected, so I began to panic.  This could NOT be happening.  I immediately jumped on-line and found out there will be a third and final book in the Dylan and Gray series titled  Finally Forever.  With this information, I could take a deep breath and continue reading. Finally Forever has a ring to it that is more in line with what I was expecting.

Second Chance is an emotional roller coaster for Dylan and Gray as they work through their personality differences.  They are clearly in love with each other, but Gray does not want to get hurt by Dylan floating in and out of his life.  In my opinion, Dylan is very short sighted and does not see the effects her traveling has on Gray.  When she began to realize it; however, she changed in ways that were detrimental to her own well being and I began to feel sorry for her.  She was no longer the free spirit Gray fell in love with.  

I absolutely love how Katie changes the narration between Dylan and Gray, so we get to experience the story from both of their perspectives.  I am amazed by how realistic her dialogue is from both the male and female perspectives.  When we are listening to a group of college baseball players carrying on a conversation it is just as believable as listening to Dylan's thoughts and conversations.  There were so many AMAZING quotes scattered throughout this book, but I will only share a few.

For my fellow Book Nerds: "Relationships aren't like library books. You can't just check people in and out whenever you feel like it." - Cat to Dylan

"You need to fall apart once in a while before you understand how you best fit together." -Dylan

"Aren't the things you work the hardest for, the sweetest victory in the end?" - Dylan

Katie hit another home run with Second Chance.  Dylan and Gray are exceptional characters and I encourage everyone to read this series.  I will be anxiously awaiting the release of Finally Forever, which Katie hopes will be out next fall.  For the next year, I will envision Gray making the Pros and Dylan traveling the country with him.  This would be the ultimate win/win.  I have no idea if that will really happen, but that is one way I could see these two reaching their happily ever after. 

For more information about Katie Kacvinsky, you can check out her website