Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Wonder by R. J. Palacio was amazing and full of emotion.  The novel is about a boy named August Pullman who is going to public school for the first time.  Auggie has a facial deformity and when he was younger he underwent many surgeries so he was home-schooled.  Now Auggie is going into fifth grade and making his first foray into public school.  August isn't the only point of view in the book though; the book also follows his sister, Via, her boyfriend, Justin, and her friend, Miranda, as well as Auggie's friends Summer and Jack.  I like that every one in the novel has their own story and it's not completely focused on Auggie's struggles.

I really like August, he seems like a cool kid.  He doesn't see himself as a freak, or unordinary, he sees himself as normal.  I wish every one in the world had the same mindset as Auggie, why should someone's looks affect how they're treated or perceived?  When Auggie goes to school what most of his classmates don't understand or take the time to notice is that Auggie is a fun guy to be around.  Even his friend Summer admits that she was surprised at how much she enjoyed being around Auggie.

When I first started Via's point of view I found myself annoyed at her for being embarrassed about her brother.  But then I realized I was being unreasonable, people get embarrassed by their family all the time so why can't Via.  It made me realize how stupid and ignorant I was being.  After that I really liked Via, and especially enjoyed that she had her own life to worry about.  I could relate to her growing away from her friends and finding new ones after starting high school, and liked that she wasn't constantly focusing on Auggie.

I've have been trying to get my hands on this book for such a long time but rarely get to the bookstore.  When I saw it at my school library I pounced and checked it out immediately.  I could not have been more happy with this book.  I loved every bit of it and wouldn't have changed any of it (except maybe Julian).  Anywho, reading this story made me so happy and I couldn't keep the smile off my face when I turned the last page.

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.” 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. I adored this series, and really liked this ending (though I would’ve like to know what happened to George and some of the others). Even though this was the last book in the series it was not go go go. In fact there was a portion of the book where very little got done other than arguing. Once Harry, Ron, and Hermione find the Sword of Gryffindor the story picks up and they find the remaining Horcuxes soon after and the final battle commences. By the way there will probably be some spoilers in this review.

One thing I liked about the Horcruxes was that Harry wasn’t the only one to destroy them. Hermione destroys the cup, Ron destroys the locket, and Neville destroys Nagini. I was so happy that Neville killed the snake, because it showed how far he had come from the first-year that couldn’t do anything right.

In this book you learn more about Dumbledore’s past and how he wasn’t always the wise headmaster he was when he died. You also meet Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth who has held a grudge against Albus since their younger sister died. Despite this, Aberforth helps sneak kids into Hogwarts through the Hog’s Head to the Room of Requirement.

Another interesting part of this book was the introduction of the Deathly Hallows: a perfect Invisibility Cloak, the Resurrection Stone, and the unbeatable Elder Wand. The Invisibility Cloak was already in Harry’s possession as it had been passed down his family line from Ignotus Peverell, the original owner. Once Harry learns of the Hallows he wants to find them and use them to defeat Voldemort but realizes that Dumbledore set the tasks of destroying the Horcruxes for a reason, and temporarily abandons his search for the Hallows.

I loved that Harry is able to see his parents’s ghosts, as well as the ghosts of Sirius and Remus. He was able to speak to them briefly and gained the courage to face his destiny. Harry also is able to speak with Dumbledore again, where everything is finally revealed to him. Harry learns of the nature of the Hallows, Dumbledore’s friendship, the death of his sister and many other things.

With the death of Snape, his true loyalty is revealed to Harry. Harry learns why Snape hated him, why Snape changed sides at the beginning of the First Wizarding War, and why Snape killed Dumbledore. When I read this part it made me really happy because I wanted to trust Snape since Dumbledore trusted him so much, but I couldn’t forgive him for killing Dumbledore. Now I can. The only part of the ending that I was unsatisfied with was that you don’t find out what happens to the Weasleys besides Ron and Ginny. I wanted to know if George was okay, if Molly and Arthur were mad at Harry or blamed him for the death of (not telling). I can assume that everything worked out, but I would’ve liked it in writing.

“We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
                    -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



Frostbite is the second novel in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.  This book picks up where the first left off; with Lissa and Rose safe at the academy and with Lissa on medications to control her magic.  This quickly takes a turn for the worse when there is a Strigoi attack and the dhampir's worst nightmare becomes a reality: the humans are helping the Strigoi.  The students and their families are sent on a "school vacation" for Christmas break to a Moroi-run ski resort where they will hopefully be protected from Strigoi attacks.

This book had less action than the first with only one big fight scene at the end, but a few new characters were introduced.  In this book you meet Tasha, Christian's aunt that has learned how to use her magic as a weapon, and Janine, Rose's mother.  You can imagine that Rose would not be happy about this, Rose resents her mom a lot for being absent while she was growing up.  It was nice seeing their relationship change through the book as they got to know each other better.  Tasha... I didn't like Tasha that much - mainly because she was interested in Dimitri - but once I got past that she was a pretty cool lady.  She is one of the few Moroi that uses her magic as a weapon, and one of the few Moroi to have survived a Strigoi attack.  Of course, she didn't survive without any scars.

Another new character in this book is Adrian Ivashkov, who is a spirit user like Lissa.  Unlike Lissa, Adrian can see "auras" and can communicate with Rose in her dreams.  He is very mysterious and many people don't trust or like him, including Rose's mom.  Adrian is constantly drunk as a coping mechanism for the emotional side effects of using spirit.

This book adds to the romance drama for Rose.  From the beginning of the book Rose knows she needs to get over Dimitri but no matter what she does it doesn't seem to work.  Then she decides to give Mason a chance and they start dating.  In the end, Rose decides that she cannot lead Mason on and decides to break up with him.  Unfortunately, something happens to prevent this that changes her life forever.  At the end of the book Rose and Dimitri finally get together with the reasoning that they aren't Lissa's guardians yet.  I was very satisfied with this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series.

“You can't force love, I realized. It's there or it isn't. If it's not there, you've got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you've got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.” 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Warning: This book is not for the faint of heart.  If blood, death, or the devil terrify or cause you nightmares maybe you shouldn't pick up this book.  Throughout the entire novel there is an unsettling feeling and you know something is going to go wrong.  You think the name is ominous?  The actual book is ten times more so.

I absolutely loved this book!  It was the perfect blend of creepiness and paranormal that was thoroughly enjoyable.  This book follows Luke and Violet White - mainly Violet - and the new renter of their guesthouse, River West.  From the moment meets River, she's drawn to him.  As time goes on she realizes that something isn't right with River and she should stay away from him, but she always ends up back in River's arms.  Don't mistake this for a romance novel, even though their romance is part of the plot it isn't the main plot line.

There isn't much more I can say without spoiling the book so I'm going to do a spoiler section.  If you've read this book already or don't plan on reading it feel free to continue otherwise come back once you've read the book!


I really liked that Violet realizes that she shouldn't be with River, even though she keeps getting pulled back in.  She knows that River is bad, and when he leaves in the end she knows she is safer.  When River's brother was first introduced it seemed like there would be a love triangle, or that Violet would realize that Neely is the "safer/better" brother and leave with him.  No such thing.  There was a love triangle for all of one paragraph and then it ended without any discussion of it.  So it was pretty much nonexistent.

The creepiest or scariest part of this book was River's half-brother Brodie.  Brodie is plain evil.  There's no other word to describe him.  He would cut and even rape his girlfriend for his own pleasure, and now has set out to team up with River to torture and kill people.  One of the first things Brodie says when he introduces himself to River and Neely is that the people in his family are insane, so you know that Brodie is mentally unstable.  He constantly used his "gift" to cause pain - mostly death - and the only way he can use it is to make his victims bleed.  Talk about creepy.  

Even though Brodie absolutely terrified me, I was glad he existed because it meant that River wasn't as evil as you originally thought.  Yes, River did some pretty bad things, but some of the things Violet thought River did were actually done by Brodie.

I'm rooting for River because I think he honestly doesn't understand that some of the ways he used his glow were wrong.  Once Violet starts to say why it's bad and when Neely comes to town River realizes that he needs to control his glow so they don't get hurt.  Violet's feelings for River are real even though she's mad he used the glow on her.  Violet knows that River left to get better and control his glow but she still misses him.  And of course in your typical YA book the guy gets the girl or vice versa, so I'm hoping it turns out that way this time around.

"Lots of people have bad stories, and if they wail and sob and tell their story to anyone who’ll listen, it’s crap. Or half crap, at least.The stuff that really hurts people, the stuff that almost breaks them . . . that they won’t talk about. Ever. "
                     -Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Island Cookbook - Hot Chocolate

Fall is here, and it's getting colder.  My favorite drink while curling up with a good book is without a doubt hot chocolate.  Hot Chocolate is one of those "seasonal drinks" that people usually drink in the winter; unless you are like me  and drink it all year round.  Due to my love of the drink I have found many, many versions of making it and I will share a few with you.

1. Simple Hot Cocoa

Directions: Buy Hot Chocolate mix from the store and and to hot water/milk.  Not my favorite, because I tend to enjoy hot chocolate with a higher chocolate concentration that Nestle or Swiss Miss has.

2. Stove-Top Cocoa

Directions: Get a hot chocolate mix (not a packet; my personal preference is Starbucks or Ghiradelli but any will do).  In a saucepan add desired amount of milk, and heat until small bubbles appear (can also microwave milk to heat it).  Stir in designated amount of cocoa mix and enjoy.  This tends to be richer, because you can add more or less powder depending on your preference and the flavor provided by the milk.

3. Rich Hot Chocolate

Warning: This drink is only for advanced Hot Chocolate Lovers otherwise you may explode from intense chocolatey-goodness.

Directions: Heat 2 cups milk in a saucepan.  Once the milk starts bubbling add 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of semisweet chocolate, and stir until combined.  I suggest adding some sugar if you like you're hot chocolate a little sweet, make sure you taste it and then adjust the sugar.  If you wish add vanilla extract or cinnamon, then top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.   This one is my favorite because even though it takes more time to make I love the richness of its flavor.

An amazing chocolate quote from Linda Grayson, "There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate."  Couldn't have said it better myself, see ya Sunday.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


This book is absolutely AMAZING!  It was such a quick read; once I picked it up I couldn't put it down.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book.  While I was reading I had to take a break because I had dance class, but I spent my breaks explaining to my friends the plot of the book and speculating with them things that could happen.  I love that it made me think and want to figure out what had happened.  This is a dystopian novel with action, romance, and death (interpret that as you wish).

Legend is told from the point of view of the two main characters: June and Day.  Day is the most wanted criminal in the Republic, accused of arson, theft, and murder. June is the Republic's prodigy; the only person to have scored a perfect 1500 on the Trial.  The Trial is an examination all citizens of the Republic take when the turn ten years old.  Their score is used to determine whether they go to high school, what college they can go to, what jobs they get, and ultimately whether they live to turn eleven.  

The premise of this book is that June's brother was murdered, and everyone says his murderer was Day.  June is now assigned to find and capture Day, and has vowed to avenge her brother's death.  The only problem: no one knows what Day looks like.

I loved hearing from both June and Day's point of view, especially because they came from such different backgrounds but complement each other so well.  The style of writing was different between June and Day.  June chapters looked like typed-up reports with black “type-writer” font, whereas Day chapters were in a muddy brown color and much less “official”.

This book was absolutely amazing and everything down to the different styles of writing between June and Day is done extremely well.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes fast-paced novels and is also a fan of dystopian.  I loved this book and can't wait until my local Barnes & Noble has the sequel in stock so I get find out what happens to June and Day.  See you on Wednesday with a new recipe for the cookbook.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Novellas: Free Four, In Time, The Transfer


Recently I read a few novellas and I would like to talk about them! In the general sense I love novellas, because if you read them before the next book in the series comes out it reintroduces you to the world and the characters so you don't have to catch up at the beginning of the new book. This is one of the many benefits of the short story or novella. Novellas also fill in story lines that weren't included in the "main series" or and new insights to characters. All in all novellas add to the reading experience and I recommend them to all who love reading.

The first novella I'm going to be talking about is Free Four by Veronica Roth. This is a Divergent novella, that shows the knife-throwing scene from Four's point of view. It is about 20 pages long, and only available on e-book. If you are looking for a quick read before you pick up Allegiant when it comes out October 22nd, this might be helpful. I loved reading what Four was thinking during this scene, it brings it full circle. There's not much more I can say without giving away what happens in those 20 pages so go pick it up.

The second novella is In Time by Alexandra Bracken. After I read this one I didn't know what do do with myself. 

I hadn't read The Darkest Minds since the beginning of the year so I could barely remember the character names. This was perfect for me because I remembered Zu, that she wasn't with Liam/Ruby, and the powers of each color. Now I am ready for Never Fade on November 5th (correct me if I'm wrong) and more pumped than ever. Back to the overwhelming feelings. This book introduced a new character, Gabe, who wants to be a skip tracer. While searching for a Psi Gabe finds Zu!  I will not reveal anything other than how the end of the novella made me cry. Moving on!

The final novella I would like to talk about is The Transfer by Veronica Roth. I know, another Divergent novella. Get used to it. I wanted to read this novella purely for more background on Four. In this novella we briefly see Four's life before he transfers to Dauntless and as he passes his first few initiation tests. I loved this novella because of the look into Four's life before Tris knew him, and if you're a fan of the Divergent series, characters, or upcoming movie I definitely recommend you read this novella.

To top off this post, go read these novellas because they are all very quick reads, very entertaining, and absolutely amazing. See you Sunday with Legend by Marie Lu.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," FDR.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy is a six-book series written by Richelle Mead.  It focuses on the dhampir Rose and the Moroi vampire she guards, Lissa.  Rose and Lissa had been living on the run for two years after escaping Vampire Academy, the school for vampire and their guardians, when they are found and taken back.  Once they return to the school mysterious things start happening, and it is up to Rose to protect Lissa at all costs.  But Rose has an advantage most other dhampirs don't have: she's shadow-kissed.

This book is different from other vampire books because vampires are not immortal, they age as humans do and can be killed as humans do; at least the Moroi do.  The Strigoi are vampires that become immortal when they purposefully kill a human while feeding.  The vampire then becomes immortal but their personality also becomes more vain and sadistic and they can no longer walk in sunlight.

There's lots of action in this book, but most of it is Rose training to be a Guardian and protect Lissa.  There's lots of typical high school drama, with the Royals being the popular girls and Lissa and Rose trying their best to stay out of the spotlight.  And when someone starts spreading horrible rumors about Rose, Lissa will stop at nothing to stop the rumors and get revenge.  There is also romance, as there is in most young adult novels.  Lissa develops feelings for a boy who is shunned by their society because his parents became Stigoi, and Rose falls for her training instructor: another dhampir and a forbidden relationship.

Rose is extremely loyal to Lissa; she always has Lissa’s safety in mind.  Even when they have a falling out, and Lissa refuses to speak to Rose, when Lissa gets into danger Rose is right there to rescue her.  Rose doesn’t feel obligated to protect Lissa, she wants to because they are such good friends.

This was definitely an exciting book, and I blew through it pretty fast.  If you're a fan of vampire books or the paranormal genre in general I definitely recommend this book.  Added bonus, this series is being turned into films and the first one, Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, comes out in February!

See you on Wednesday where I will talk about some novellas!  Leaving you with a quote from Vampire Academy: “Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.”  Now go read it!
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Blogger Hop: October 4th - October 10th

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop: the weekly meme that gets bloggers hopping!  This week Halloween themed and the question is (drumroll please......):

What book gave you goosebumps? 

The answer:

Two books that gave me goosebumps were Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke.  I read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea much more recently and parts of it terrified me so much, but I clearly remember feeling scared while reading Dark Secrets.  I loved them both and hope I find more books like them to read in the future!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Whew... I need a moment to compose myself. Whew... that was really hard to read.


Wow.  I was not expecting that. I knew it was going to happen eventually but I thought it would happen in the last book so I wasn't prepared. I need a moment to get my thoughts together. Sorry if this post is all over the place I just finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and there's lots of emotions pouring out of me and I need to let it out. This review is going to have tons of spoilers so if you haven't read Harry Potter DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST YOU WILL REGRET IT. Okay, here goes...


I think what got me the most about this Harry Potter was how anti-climatic Dumbledore's death was. One second he was alive then Snape shouts, "Avada Kedavra" and Dumbledore's gone. I mean I understand that's how the Avada Kedavra curse works but it's Dumbledore... he's such a huge character and person in Harry's life. I hate that Harry has to loose Dumbledore, because he's Harry's authoritative/parental-type figure and to loose him a year after loosing Sirius; it doesn't seem fair. On the positive side, Harry is using their deaths as a reason to push forward with the task set before him. He isn't letting it destroy his life like it might do to others.

I knew that Harry ends up with Ginny at the end of the series but until this book there was minimal interaction between them and Harry never really showed any particular interest in her... until this book! I felt so bad for Harry reading that he was jealous of Dean and about his dilemma that his best friend is Ginny's brother. After the Quidditch match when Ginny comes up to Harry and they kiss, and then Harry looks at Ron... that was touching how Ron was okay with it. At then end of the book Harry breaks up with Ginny to protect her, and it devastated me. I was happy about the way J. K. Rowling did it; Ginny understood even though she didn't necessarily agree. She said to Harry, "It's for some stupid, noble reason, isn't it?" Normally when this is done in YA books the dumper doesn't feel the need to say I'm doing this to protect you and the dumpee just doesn't get it; but Harry and Ginny did!

Another thing I love is that Ron and Hermione are loyal to Harry throughout the book, but they are still individuals. Sometimes Hermione disagrees with Harry and Ron and sometimes Ron and Harry get into fights but they remain friends in the end. One of the saddest parts in the beginning/middle of the book was when Ron was in a relationship with Lavender. I felt so bad for Hermione, because I knew how she felt about Ron since about the fourth book but Ron is clueless. He frustrated me the most in this book, he was so caught up in his "first girlfriend/kiss" that he was a little bit of a jerk.

I felt bad for Hagrid when Aragog dies. But I do have this to say: Hagrid can be so clueless when it comes to the danger his "pets"  have on others. I thought it was nice that Harry went to Aragog's funeral, even if it was only because of the liquid luck potion.

It was so creepy when Harry found out that Crabbe and Goyle were using the Polyjuice Potion to turn into girls... really couldn't they have been boys? Whenever Malfoy was mentioned in the book there was an underlying feeling of terror or insanity. I didn't like when Harry was thinking about Malfoy obsessively; it made me feel uneasy.

That's all I have to say about this Harry Potter. I can't wait to read the seventh and final HP!

Talk to you on Sunday about more new books!
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