Archive for the ‘BRR: Books Recently Read’ Category

BRR: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

July 22, 2011


Title: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Other books in series or Standalone: Standalone

First Impressions: I really enjoyed the other major novel that Cohn and Levithan co-wrote, called Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, so I was really looking forward to this one.  And the story sounded so fun!  Christmas fantatic Lily is bored while on vacation from school, so she leaves a red notebook on a bookstore shelf.  The notebook contains the beginning of a set of challenges for whoever finds it, kind of like a city-wide scavenger hunt.  When snarky Dash find the notebook, he is immediately sucked into the dares, and the two spend their Christmas Break trading the notebook back and forth by leaving it at the site of the last dare.

Last Impressions: This was, in fact, a really fun book.  I love the idea of the notebook and the dares, and if it was at all realistic I would totally do it!  Dash starts off sort of unlikeable and Lily borders on annoying sometimes, but through their interactions they grow and become more likeable characters, which I think is one mark of a good story.  And Cohn and Levithan do a great job at bringing New York to life, it really made me want to see it in the winter!

Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT):  I really enjoyed Dash’s initial finding of the notebook in The Strand….it’s pretty funny.  The ending is also very nice, but I won’t spoil it!

Least Favorite Moment:  Dash and Lily’s first attempt at meeting in person.  Major failure.

Thoughts on the bookcover: The cover is so pretty!  I love the falling snow (especially right now, in the dead of summer!) and all the hearts.  It’s a very nice “New York in winter” image.

An ideal place to read this book: On a cozy couch with a mug of hot cocoa. 

People who should read this:  Guys and girls can both enjoy this, since you’re getting the perspectives of both Dash and Lily.  If you’re looking for a unique love story, this is definitely for you.  And fans of Christmas and books about Christmas will find a lot to enjoy here.

If you like this book, you may also like:  Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle.

BRR: The Time-traveling Fashionista

July 6, 2011


The Time Traveling Fashionista by Bianca TuretskyTitle: The Time-traveling Fashionista

Author: Bianca Turetsky


Other books in series or Standalone: right now it is a standalone, but the author’s bio in the back leads us to believe it will be a series!

First Impressions: Time travel plus fashion plus THE TITANIC? YES PLEASE! I have always loved the idea of clothing being a sciencefictionish technological instrument either as an invisibility cloak, or a magical pair of flattering jeans, or dresses that transport the wearer to another time. Bravo should totally do a Sci-Fi version of Project Runway…

Last Impressions: I liked the book, but I thought it was a bit predictable. However, the main character, Louise, was very sweet and passionate about pursuing her hobby of collecting vintage clothing. I totally want to be friends with her so we can put on flapper dresses and have dance parties (however, I would prefer NOT to put on Edwardian dresses and hang out on doomed, sinking ships with her…)

Image from the Putnam Museum's High School Guide to the Titanic Artifact ExhibitFavorite Part (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT): I loved when Louise and Ann (a maid on the Titanic) visited the ship’s gymnasium–I know! Who knew the Titanic had a gym? Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio never hung out in there. The thought of working out in mountains of underclothes, a corset, a long dress, gloves and jewelry kinda makes me wanna fall over…My other favorite part was the fashion illustrations by Sandra Suy! SO GLAMOROUS! And tragic. I found that learning about the clothing worn by the Titanic’s victims and survivors made the tragedy feel that much more human.

Least Favorite Part: It took sooooo long for Louise to realize that she was on the Titanic which made me very very anxious (and slightly annoyed).

Thoughts on the bookcover: Beautiful! I am always a sucker for covers with beautiful dresses and I am LOVING the current trend of using a hand-lettered look for the title. The cover looks fun and shiny and romantic–just like the story!

An ideal place to read this book: while you are waiting in line for the AMAZING Titanic Exhibit at the Putnam Museum!

Dream Cast: Louise would be played by Sierra McCormick of Disney’s new show, ANT Farm, or Joey King who played Ramona in Ramona & Beezus.

People who should read this: Although enjoyed by all ages, I would say this book would most interest younger teens. Especially those into fashion or history (or both!)

If you like this book, you may also like: Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl, Cinderella Cleaners by Maya Gold or anything by Ann Rinaldi

BRR: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

May 31, 2011


Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Other books in series or Standalone: It has a sequel/companion called Where She Went

First Impressions: I picked this one up because it sounded like a pretty interesting story.  A 17-year-old girl named Mia is riding in the car with her parents and little brother when they are in a horrific car accident.  With her parents dead and her little brother’s life hanging in the balance, Mia has an out-of-body experience while comatose.  She can see what is going on around her and realizes that she has to make the decision herself:  should she live or die?

Last Impressions: I really liked this book!  At first I wasn’t sure how it would work with the whole thing going on while the main character is in a coma, but the flashbacks very nicely give us backstory on Mia and her family and helps to get to know them as lovable characters.  The flashbacks also provide plenty of light and humorous moments, which helps break up the saddness of the whole situation Mia is in.  I also really liked how passionate Mia is about playing the cello.  I enjoyed that uniqueness about her, and it even kind of made me want to listen to some cello music!

Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT):  Mia’s flashback to her first date with her rocker boyfriend Adam.  Really cute and romantic.

Least Favorite Moment:  The description of the accident scene.  But then again, I might have a weak stomach where blood is concerned.

Thoughts on the bookcover:  Very simple and pretty.  I love the colors, and the dying tree with one bloom left on it seems like it fits Mia’s situation well.

Dream Cast:  Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) as Mia, Reid Ewing (Modern Family) as Adam

People who should read this:  If you like realistic fiction or more serious books.  Music lovers will also appreciate what a big role music plays in the book (Mia is a cellist, her boyfriend Adam is in a rock band, and her parents were avid music lovers).

If you like this book, you may also like:  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, one of Sarah Dessen’s many books (like What Happened to Goodbye), either Speak or Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

BRR: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

May 11, 2011


Title:  Incarceron

Author:  Catherine Fisher

Other books in series or Standalone:  Has a sequel called Sapphique

First Impressions:  This sounded like a really unique story.  Finn is trapped in a futuristic prison called Incarceron.  He has always been told that he was born there, but he can’t remember anything before the past three years and he’s sure that he had a life on the outside.  Things start to piece together for Finn when he comes into ownership of a device that lets him communicate with someone on the outside: Claudia, the daughter of the Warden.

Last Impressions:  Once it gets going, this book is great!  I had the hardest time at first trying to figure out when and where it is set, but once things started coming together, it turned into a really exciting and thought-provoking story.  The technology involved is super cool and it’s fun to imagine it alongside the 18th century style of clothing.

Favorite Moment:  I can’t say because it’s a HUGE spoiler, but I’ll say that I really liked the ending.

Thoughts on the bookcover:  Very cool.  It’s so mysterious because you don’t know how all the objects on it are going to come into play in the book.  And the crystal key looks so pretty!

Dream Cast:  A movie is already in the works starring Taylor Lautner as Finn, and I can see him filling this role perfectly!  No one else is confirmed for the cast yet, but I could totally see Emma Watson as Claudia.

People who should read this:  With the dual viewpoints of Finn and Claudia, both guys and girls could enjoy this book.  It’s great for anyone who likes dystopian lit or books about cool futuristic technology.

People who should not read this:  It kind of takes awhile for the story to pick up and for you to figure out what exactly is going on, so if you’re impatient, you might get frustrated.  But seriously, hang in there, it gets really good!

If you like this book, you may also like:  The sequel, Sapphique, of course!  Also The Maze Runner, Gone, and The Knife of Never Letting Go.

BRR: Bright Young Things

April 30, 2011

Title: Bright Young Things

Author: Anna Godbersen

Other books in series or Standalone: First book in a series! The second book, Beautiful Days, will be released in September!

First Impressions: I have always been fascinated with the 1920′s, but I have been especially obsessed with that particular decade after reading Sophie Kinsella’a Twenties Girl. And although I have not read the books in Anna Godbersen’s other series, Luxe, they have always been on my to-read list.

Last Impressions:Smashing good time, darlings! I love how all three girls, Astrid, Letty, and Cordelia, live very different lives, but all still have their highs and lows–I am super excited to see how their stories continue to interweave with each others’!

Favorite Moment: Whenever they describe the sparkly, silky, delicate, beaded, luxurious, beautiful dresses! Here is a polyvore set of some Flapper Girl style so you can visualize the loveliness:

Modern Flapper....

Modern Flapper…. by Black*Orchid

Least Favorite Moment: Lets just say that the moments that lead up to Letty adopting her greyhound, Good Egg, were horrifying and I wanted to look away (which is a weird sensation while you are reading because, of course, you CAN’T look away. If you do, then the story just pauses at the bad part!) Learn about greyhound adoption at Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption:

Thoughts on the bookcover: G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S. This was definitely a I-picked-up-this-book-because-I-judged-it-by-the-cover situation.

An ideal place to read this book: while waiting for the train (or plane) that is about to take you someplace fantastic

Dream Cast: Dakota Fanning as Astrid, Miranda Cosgrove as Letty, and Emma Roberts as Cordelia

If you like this book, you may also like: Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, the musical Chicago and the amazing film version starring Renée Zellweger & Catherine Zeta-Jones, the BBC series The House of Eliott and of course, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

BRR: Matched by Ally Condie

April 25, 2011


Title:  Matched
Author:  Ally Condie

Other books in series or Standalone: First in a trilogy.  The second book, Crossed, will be released in November 2011 and the third (still untitled) is due out in November of 2012

First Impressions:  I was SUPER excited for this book.  From the description, it sounded like it was going to be right up my alley, a dystopian tale filled with romance and rebellion.  Cassia lives in a world where The Society dictates every aspect of your life, leaving you no choice or real free will.  Everything is chosen for you, including who you marry.  At her Match Banquet, Cassia is shown the face of the boy she is to marry, and it turns out to be her best friend Xander.  But then for a brief moment, another face flashes before her (the face of her friend Ky), leading her to question the choice that has been made for her and what exactly The Society is up to.  The book had a ton of buzz, so I figured it would be pretty great.

Last Impressions:  One of the things I found most interesting about this book was how choice was so completely taken away.  It’s not just that you can’t choose who to marry; The Society has also limited the culture so as not to “overwhelm” the people with too many choices.  They have narrowed things down to The Hundreds, meaning that there are now only 100 songs, 100 movies, 100 poems, and so on.  It was interesting to watch Cassia go from thinking that this isn’t a bad thing to raging against it after her beloved grandfather gives her a poem that isn’t one of the 100 and is therefore forbidden.  I really liked their relationship and what she learns from it.

Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT):  Ky teaching Cassia to write.  Very sweet, and yet another reminder of how The Society restricts people’s actions (no one is allowed to write, only type into their Scribes).

Least Favorite Moment:  I don’t want to say because it’s a big spoiler!  But it involves someone getting his/her heart broken, and it made me sad.  And that’s all I will say.

Thoughts on the bookcover:  LOVE the cover!  Such a pretty picture, and with the girl in the bubble it’s a good visual image of what the book is about (because Cassia is very much trapped in the safe protective bubble of the Society).

People who should read this:  Anyone who likes a good love triangle or enjoys dystopian stories filled with rebellion and intrigue

If you like this book, you may also like: The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (read my review HERE!)

BRR: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

April 18, 2011


Title:  Delirium
Author:  Lauren Oliver

Other books in series or Standalone:  First in a trilogy.  The sequels will be titled Pandemonium and Requiem, but no release dates are available yet.

First Impressions:  I read the summary and thought that it sounded really interesting; it’s a dystopian society where love is considered to be very dangerous, so people get a vaccine when they turn 18 that prevents them from ever falling in love.  Lena is anxious to get it since love caused some serious pain in her family many years back….that is, until she meets Alex….

Last Impressions:  I need the sequel to come out soon.  Like, yesterday, please.  Even though I thought that the worldbuilding was kind of weak (I’m still not totally sure of the origins of this fear of love), I thought that the love story and the feelings that Lena and Alex have for each other were quite powerful, and it really sucked me in.  I also loved seeing the transformation in Lena; she goes from being a girl who does what she is told and tries to please people to a rebel with a mind of her own.  Awesome and empowering.

Favorite Moment (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT):  Lena and Alex fall asleep together in his roofless trailer, looking up at the stars.  Swoon.

Least Favorite Moment:  Turning to the last page and realizing that I’m facing a cliffhanger.

Thoughts on the bookcover:  I know they say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but I totally only picked this book up because it has such a pretty cover!  I just really liked the color and design, so it made me curious to see what it was about.  I think it fits the mood of the story very well.

Dream Cast:  Alexis Bledel as Lena (true, she probably just popped into my head because that’s the name of her character in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but I could totally see her in this part!), Alex Pettyfer as Alex (I think he has that rebel look down), and Amanda Seyfried as Hana.

People who should read this:  Anyone who likes a good love story, fans of dystopian lit

People who should not read this:  I don’t know if boys would identify with it as much, since it’s from the perspective of a girl and it’s all about love and whatnot, but I could be wrong, so give it a try anyway!

If you like this book, you may also like:  some other dystopian lit that involve a love story, like Matched by Ally Condie, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  After reading Delirium I also decided to try Lauren Oliver’s first book, Before I Fall, and while it’s fairly different from Delirium, it is also EXCELLENT!