If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Picture 1If I Stay by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeenyear- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she fi nds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I liked this book, but I have reservations about it as well.  I was disturbed by page 14.  I knew what it was about, but I didn’t expect the descriptions at the beginning.

The flashbacks were interesting, but sometimes Mia’s family and friends seemed too perfect to the point of being a little annoying.  Mia also annoyed me sometimes.  I wouldn’t say it is necessarily the character’s fault, but her perspective on music was so different than mine.  I was extremely involved in music growing up.  I did solos and such, but I really enjoyed being part of a group – an ensemble or the band.  To Mia, playing was always a solo experience and that was just hard for me to understand.  I expected to like her musicality, but in the end I couldn’t relate to her.

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Picture 1Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Bk 4) by Richelle Mead

How far will Rose go to keep her promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

I’m going to try to say what I thought about this book without being too spoilery.  I really liked the first three books in the series.  I’ve always thought Rose was a fantastic female character.  But in this book, I found myself extremely annoyed with her many times.  One section of the book had me saying “You’ve got to be kidding me!” every time I turned the page.  Not a good thing.

I thought the first 400 pages of the book were kind of tedious and occasionally boring.  Liking the series is the only thing that kept me going.  I did like parts of it, but many times I just wanted the book to get on with the action.  I also really missed the characters from the first books.  Rose’s trips to Lissa’s mind didn’t really take the place of interactions with these characters.  Lissa is a character I struggle to like occasionally anyway, but in this book she just pissed me off.  I know the explanation for it, but I still didn’t like it.

All that said, I did really like the last 100 pages.  Things finally happened and there were revelations and such.  I’ll definitely read the next book, but I’m hoping it’s back to the standards of the first three books.

Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann

Picture 1Picture 2Wake (Dream Catchers, Bk 1) by Lisa McMann

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people’s dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.

Fade (Dream Catchers, Bk 2) by Lisa McMann

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.
Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.
Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared….

I’ve been slack about posting since I started the PBS Challenge, so I am doing a two for one post.  I read these books back to back in one evening, so they’re kind of mixed together in my head anyway. :)

I’ve had Wake on my shelf for a while, but the description was never enough to get me to pick it up.  I am sending Wake and Fade to a friend, so I finally read it this weekend.  Turns out I really liked it!  I thought both books were really good.  I liked Wake a little more than Fade.  I liked the set up and the story in Wake a lot, plus Fade was a little angsty.  I usually all about the angst, but this time I was a little annoyed and wanted them to get on with it.  I liked Janie and Cabel a lot.

Overall, I liked both books and can’t wait for Gone, the third book in the series to come out.

The Scarlett Letterman by Cara Lockwood

Picture 2The Scarlett Letterman (Bard Academy, Bk 2) by Cara Lockwood

Miranda Tate and her closest friends have been let in on a powerful secret: their teachers are famous dead writers.

After a heroic first semester, Miranda’s got Bard Academy’s ghost faculty in her debt, a new boyfriend in hot basketball player Ryan Kent, and she’s just turned in a paper about The Scarlet Letter that she’s sure is A material. But when the Bard Queen Bee, Parker Rodham, claims she’s attacked in the woods, Ryan is all too happy to play bodyguard. Then teachers start disappearing and the campus is abuzz with news of the Hooded Sweatshirt Stalker — not to mention sightings of a monster in the woods. But it’s Miranda who feels like a moving target when she is accused not only of plagiarism but of suspicious involvement in the attacks!

Meanwhile, rumors are flying about what it really means that Miranda’s wearing Ryan’s varsity letterman jacket. And she just can’t shake her nagging feelings for Heathcliff, who entrusted her with the locket that keeps him in the “real” world even though every one else thinks he’s back where he belongs, in the pages of Wuthering Heights. Is he the campus stalker? Does she like him more than she likes Ryan? And how is that possible if he’s only a character from a book?

I liked the end of this book more than I liked the first book in the series. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought the resolution of the conflict was really interesting in this book. I hated Ryan. He’s an ass and I don’t get why Miranda likes him.

Also, something that drove me nuts – having characters named Blake and Blade in the same story is confusing!

Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood

Picture 1Wuthering High (Bard Academy, Bk 1) by Cara Lockwood

Welcome to Bard Academy, where a group of supposedly troubled teens are about to get scared straight.

When Miranda, a slightly spoiled but spirited fifteen-year-old from Chicago, smashes up her father’s car and goes to town with her stepmother’s credit cards, she’s shipped off to Bard Academy, a boarding school where she’s supposed to learn to behave. Gothic and boring and strict, it’s everything you’d expect of a reform school. But all is not what it seems at Bard….

For starters, Miranda’s having horrific nightmares and the nearby woods are eerily impossible to navigate. The students’ lives also start to mirror the classics they’re reading — tragic novels like Dracula, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. So Miranda begins to suspect that Bard is haunted — by famous writers who took their own lives — and she senses that not all of them are happy. Complicating things even more is the fact that Ryan Kent — a cute, smart, funny basketball player who went to Miranda’s old high school — landed himself in Bard, too. And the attention he’s showing Miranda is making some of the other girls white as ghosts. Something ghoulish is definitely brewing at Bard, and Miranda seems to be at the center of ominous events, but whether it’s typical high school b.s. or otherworldly danger remains to be seen.

This book was okay.  The characters could have been a little less flat, but the idea was fun.  Miranda annoyed me at first, but she grew on me after a while.  Same with Blade – she was less annoying towards the end.  I guess since this is a trilogy, it’s okay that many things were left hanging, but it left me feeling a little underwhelmed.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Heathcliff or Ryan.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Picture 1Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, Bk 3) by Richelle Mead

Is Rose’s fate to kill the person she loves most? It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason’s death, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can’t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even bigger secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it’s way more than a crush.

Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever.

I am definitely still loving this series, but I have to say I didn’t like this book as much as the first two.  I still liked it a lot.  I felt the middle of the book dragged a little.  I kept waiting for the action.  When the action showed up, it definitely didn’t disappoint.  Rose is still awesome.  I was accidentally spoiled about what happens at the end, which I think hurt my enjoyment of it a little.  I bought the fourth book from Amazon and when I opened the box, the back of the book was facing me.  It has a big spoiler in big letters.  Very sad.  But I am excited to read it.  I’m trying to not read the series too close together so that I don’t have to wait forever for the fifth book to come out!

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Picture 6Ballad: The Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James’ musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.

Hm, where to start… I really liked this book.  REALLY liked it.  I would like a James of my very own, please.   I loved James’ sarcasm and attitude.  I liked his snarky comments and outside persona, but I loved that we also got to know his inner vulnerability.  Same for Nuala.  Nuala was really cool, tough, and strong, but she had a softer, more unsure side.  I liked her a lot more than I liked Luke in Lament.  With Luke, I had a hard time feeling he was really telling Dee the truth, but I never doubted Nuala.

I really liked the story and the new cast of characters, especially Paul and Sullivan.  Dee annoyed me in this book, though.  It stinks because I really liked her in Lament, but she was so whiny in Ballad.  I know she’s been through a lot (to say the least), but I hated that she was still jerking James around and she was so mopey.  I wanted to feel more sorry for her because I liked her so much, but I just didn’t.

So in conclusion – read this book!  It is good. :)

Oh, by the way, this was the 100th book I’ve read this year!  I never expected I would read so many books in a year.

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Picture 1My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, Bk 1) by Rachel Vincent

She doesn’t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…

I kind of have mixed feelings on this book.  On one hand, I thought the story was really interesting.  Bean sidhe (banshees) are not exactly everyday fare.  The mythology was different and kept me reading.  But on the other hand, I didn’t like the characters.  I can’t explain exactly why, but I really couldn’t stand Nash.  I guess a big part of it is how he goes through girls at school like they’re lollipops, then suddenly he’s reformed because he meets Kaylee?  Um, sure.  He also just kind of annoyed me.  Also Kaylee goes from not knowing him to completely trusting him and being so in love in like 3 days.  Whatever.  I didn’t like the stereotypical family, either, with the golden child and the ugly stepsister, er, niece.

I really wanted to like this book, and I did to an extent.  I’ll definitely interested enough to read the next one when it comes out.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

lamentLament by Maggie Stiefvater

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She’s about to find out she’s also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. When a mysterious boy enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of nowhere, Deirdre finds herself infatuated. Trouble is, the enigmatic and conflicted Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin – and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark. Deirdre has to decide if Luke’s feelings towards her are real, or only a way to lure her deeper into the world of Faerie.

Luke isn’t her only problem. A sinister faerie named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Long-time enemies with a common goal, Luke and Aodhan carry the same assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen’s sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is her best friend James whose devotion has been teetering precariously on the line between friendship and love for months – a feeling that Dee doesn’t quite reciprocate. It’s Luke she can’t stop thinking about: Luke, who was supposed to kill her immediately but hasn’t. Luke, who cannot refuse the Queen’s orders without paying an unimaginable price. Deirdre ultimately must confront the Faerie Queen before she loses everyone she loves.

I wasn’t really sure what to think of this book going in.  I can’t really think of many books about faeries I’ve really liked.  However, I am now a huge fan of homocidal faeries.  I really liked this book!  I loved Deirdre.  She was a fantastic heroine.  I liked that she wasn’t the most popular girl, but she was okay with that.  She’s smart, talented, and best of all, she didn’t expect to be rescued.  She found her own way out of the trouble she found herself in multiple times.  Luke was a conundrum.  Is he good or is he bad?  For much of the book, I wasn’t convinced one way or the other.  I liked that, and I liked discovering his story throughout the book.

The book was beautifully written and fascinating.  I read a lot of the book while eating lunch this week and when I went back to work, I couldn’t get the story out of my head.  There were also several laugh out loud moments.  Some of them were completely unexpected, but it kept me on my toes.  I loved how important the music was to this book.  It was described so well that I could hear it as I read.

I am very excited to read Ballad when it comes out and find out what happens.  I liked James and want to hear his story!

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Picture 4Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Bk 2) by Richelle Mead

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians–including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks….This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

I love this series!  Seriously – this book was even better than the first one.  I like Rose a lot… and Dimitri and Christian and Adrian… and a lot of other characters.  This book had more action, which I really liked.  I loved Rose’s growth with her mother.  Well, really I just liked Rose’s growth in general.  She’s a great character!

I did have a little trouble getting into the book.  The first chapter is a recap of the previous book and it was kind of annoying.  I guess the author has to explain things for the people that haven’t read the first book, but they should have!  And I felt like we learned things through through relevant conversation or commentary in the first book instead of just exposition by Rose.  But that was my only complaint!  I am excited to read the next book!