Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Bought from Half Price Books
Publisher: Random House- Ember
Published: January 1, 2010
Amazon - Goodreads

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own. 

Years ago I tried reading Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and just could not get into it. I think that was the main reason why I was so hesitant to pick up Dash and Lily's Book of Dares since it's by the same authors. Luckily all of the positive buzz surrounding this book convinced me to pick it up.

This book is told in duel point of views: Dash and Lily. I really, really loved Dash's chapters the most. I loved his adoration for words and just his voice/outlook in general I found to be very likeable. He's pretty sarcastic, witty and intelligent. For the most part I enjoyed Lily, but there were some parts of the book where I found her to be a bit annoying and a touch whiny. Now looking back on it though, I think I would have been a bit peeved if my parents were to leave me on Christmas to go to Fiji when I was just sixteen.

I was happily surprised with how thought-provoking this book turned out to be. When I started I was a bit worried that the dares were going to be a bit silly and more on the 'pointless-just-for-fun' side, but it really was so much more than that. The dares in the notebook challenged each character to step out of their comfort zone and really embraced the whole concept of putting yourself out there. With each dare came a written part from each side- personal pieces of their lives were revealed, but never in overload.

The entire book isn't all just through the form of Dash and Lily writing back to each other, most of the book takes place outside of the notebook when the characters' are doing the dares or really just living life. I was really happy that the moleskin was more of an important addition and that it wasn't a crutch in the way that the characters got lost in its shadow.

I loved the whole idea of these two characters passing a red moleskin notebook back and forth. I loved the adventures and new experiences it lead them on. The dares took Dash and Lily all over the city. I live in a small town in the Midwest, so it was pretty cool to 'see' New York all lit up and busy during the holidays.

 Amazing Quote:
"I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character." 

Although some parts felt a little slow, overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved the discussions about fate and the witty sarcasm that was carried throughout the story. The setting was perfect and I was really fond of both the main characters and the supporting characters as well. I know I've mentioned it before, but Dash and Lily's Book of Dares really is the perfect read for this time of year!

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

15797745Received for review.
Publisher: Delacorte Books/ Random House
Publisher: March 13, 2012
Series: Starters
Amazon - Goodreads


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Starter's takes place in a dystopian world where teens are thought very little of. After the Spore Wars the the adults were all killed, leaving only children/teens and super old people. The main character, Callie, is homeless and would do anything to protect her little brother Tyler. In an attempt to earn some money Callie decides to rent her body to Prime Destinations, a body bank that lets Enders (old people) rent out Starters' (young people) bodies for a period of time. It's an underground operation that definitely has its risks, but Starters aren't allowed to work and Callie doesn't really have any other options. While renting, Callie somehow wakes up. She has to figure out what exactly this Ender plans on doing with her body and how she can stop it.

This book is definitely a plot driven story. Price's writing flowed together flawlessly and I thought it reflected the plot's pace wonderfully. For me dystopians tend to get a little heavy sometimes and take me a bit longer to read than other books, but Starters kept me reading super easily. It was one of those book where I kept thinking 'okay, one more chapter then I'll go to bed' then the next thing I knew I was practically done with the book!

I was pretty indifferent about my feelings of liking/not liking Callie or really most of the supporting characters. It felt they were all just there to help enhance the plot, which was definitely the star of Starters for me. I couldn't stop reading to find out what exactly Prime Destinations was up to and how Callie was going to handle this unusual situation. 

There was sort of a love interest, but it a bit unnecessary. To me it was a forced Cinderella scenario (she was the poor girl falling for a rich guy, but she has a secret.) I thought this part took away from the book a bit. I'm curious to see how it's explored more in book two, Enders.

Awesome Quote:
"I guess sometimes there isn't a reason for everything." 

Starters by Lissa Price is a fast paced dystopian that was impossible to put down. It's a plot driven story that's filled with mystery and a touch of romance. Price's concept of an America that has senior citizens and teens as the only occupants due to a prior war is definitely one of a kind.  Then there's the bonus of renting out young bodies to older people and it become one totally awesome and unique dystopian that I couldn't help but love!

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

The End of a Series

*Don't worry, there's NO spoilers for the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver. I just use this trilogy as a reference, you honestly don't even have to know what it is/ is about to read this post!*

This week I finally started book three in the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, Requiem. This book has been out for quite some time and was something that I was dying to read, but for some reason didn't pick it up until recently. I was trying to pinpoint exactly what it was that took me so long and finally came to the conclusion of me not wanting this trilogy to end. I'd fallen in love with the characters and watching them survive through less than ideal situations. Oliver's writing is just beautifully addicting and paints such a vivid picture of Lena's world.

As I continued to think about it, I also figured out that I was worried about what would happen. Worried enough that I wanted to leave it with the cliffhanger that Pandemonium,book two, had left me with. I had heard mixed reviews about the ending of our beloved characters' stories and didn't want to read something that would ruin my thoughts of the story as a whole. I didn't want it to mess with this perfect image I had in my mind, a happy ending. The one where the main character ends up with the boy I want for her, the ending that includes a cozy house, an end to rebellion and nothing but bliss.

Then it kind of hit me all at once: Is that really what I want out of a book? 
Only the happy parts of life, even if in reality they're hard (if not impossible) to reach. How could I, someone who's slightly cynical, super sarcastic and rolls her eyes at anything even remotely cheesey,  only want happy endings?

Maybe it's because I've grown to love the characters and want what I think is best for them, but honestly I don't think books are all suppose to be this untouchable perfect world that has unrealistic endings. I want heartbreak. I want places in a book that leave me shaking my head, rereading lines just to figure out how that one part I just can't seem to kick out of my head happened. How did the author let it happen?

I think I finally came to the obvious conclusion that I don't read just to see characters have that happily ever after. I read to learn something, to live a life that's not mine and maybe sometimes that life is something I'm glad I don't call my own. I read to put myself in other's shoes, to live in a world separate from mine.

Sometimes I put too much trust into an author's decision and direction of their story. I definitely think they'll be times where no matter what anyone says, I won't agree with what happened or I won't like it. Then there's those other times where I'm completely in shock and angry at the author for doing something so cruel, but you have to give them credit, it does stick with you. Well, at least it sticks with me. Maybe it'll teach me something right as a read it or the next time I pick up the book years later when my anger has lighten up.

In an odd way I think that's one of the great things about reading, you really don't have control over what's going to happen, just like in life. No matter how much you want a certain character to live or to just be happy, you can't change what's written on the pages that sit unread. The story's already been decided and I think that's both amazing and kind of terrifying all at once.

I'm over halfway done with Requiem, and I may not understand some of the events happening, or why they're happening, but I'm definitely learning something. I'm relating to Lena and I can feel my eyes opening. It might not be a happily ever after (or it might, like I said, not finished yet) but I want more from a book. Yes I want answers, but I want to be left with questions about things that I thought I already knew the answer to. 

My goal is to finish those series that I've neglected to complete all because I was afraid where the plot would go, where the author would lead our characters.

Do you ever neglect to finish a series because you're worried about where the story/ characters will end up? 

Book Trailer: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs


I am extremely excited for Ransom Riggs' new book, Hollow City! (The sequel to Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children)  I absolutely adored book one and seriously can't wait for Hollow City to be out! Rigg's writing is absolutely incredible and it hooked me from the start. I can't wait to go on another adventure with Jacob and his new friends! I plan on rereading the first book right before Hollow City come out, its release date is January 14th

Quirk Books posted the first of three book trailers on their YouTube channel (click here to check out their channel) and oh my goodness, it is amazing! (It was even debuted on Entertainment Weekly, how cool!?)

I am completely in love with this trailer!! It's so hauntingly beautiful and does an excellent job at capturing the feel of Ransom Riggs' books. 

So who else is excited for Hollow City!?

Review: Demonglass (Hex Hall 2) by Rachel Hawkins

I use Grammarly's grammar check because using proper grammar makes me feel like a literary superhero! 

Bought from Amazon.
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Published: March 22, 2011
Series: Hex Hall
Amazon - Goodreads

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (a.k.a. witches, shape-shifters, and faeries). But then she discovered the family secret, and the fact that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie's a demon, one of only two in the world-the other being her father. What's worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will either destroy her powers for good-or kill her.

But once Sophie arrives, she makes a shocking discovery. Her new housemates? They're demons too. Meaning, someone is raising demons in secret, with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they're using Archer to do it. But it's not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

*If you haven't read HEX HALL, this review contains SPOILERS*
You can check out my review of book one, Hex Hall, here

I am absolutely loving Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall Trilogy! I started book two, Demonglass, right after I finished the first book, Hex Hall, because I just couldn't get enough of Sophie's story. I completely adored the first book and was a bit worried that Demonglass wouldn't hold up to the amazingness that was the first book. Luckily, I was once again worrying for no reason, because book two was just as great as book one!

In Demonglass, Sophie, Jenna, Cal and Sophie's Dad all travel to England to stay at the Council Headquarters. With thoughts of the risky Removal in Sophie's head, her father is pretty desperate to get her to see things in his way and to give it more thought before completely getting rid of her powers. Not only does Sophie have to worry about that huge decision, but Sophie can't kick the hunky Archer out of her head.

Even though I definitely missed Hecate Hall, I really loved Council Headquarters. It was a beautiful setting and it introduced awesome new characters, but I was still able to learn more about characters from Hex Hall as well, which was great! I thought Hawkins' did an excellent job at the setting transition and I loved that the story started out at Hecate Hall and then transitioned over to the Council Headquarters.

I'm really enjoying watching Sophie grow as a person and discover more about her family history as the story carries on. While at the council headquarters Sophie gets a chance to really bond with her father and hear his side of the story which I thought was a great addition to the book. I feel like not enough young adult books have enough parental figures incorporated into their story lines, so I was really happy how flawlessly Sophie's father was required in the plot.

The ending was completely insane! I was so incredibly happy that I had the third book on my bookshelf because I totally didn't see any of that coming. One word: cliffhanger!

Awesome Quote:
"Mom always liked to say that we hardly ever know the decisions we make that change our lives, mostly because they're little ones." 

In Demonglass we get to see Sophie really embrace her special powers and start to learn more about her family's beginning. With a beautiful new setting in England and new characters added to the story, I couldn't help but finish this book in only a few sittings. Hawkins' writing is amazing and capture's a teen voice perfectly. I definitely can't wait to find out what happens in the final book of the Hex Hall trilogy, Spell Bound.

*This post was sponsored by Grammarly. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.