Sunday, September 27, 2015

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. But that's all it takes. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

For those of you who hate romance and gooey, gooey love stories, I suggest you pass on this book. Put it down and go read something like . . . I don’t know, To Kill A Mockingbird (one of the greatest required reading books my school has assigned) or something. Because this book was super focused on Ali’s love interest, with many gooey, gooey love scenes.
Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I like reading romance books, and I really did like Alice in Zombieland. The characters are well-developed (though all the boys were basically really, really macho and kind of mama bear-ish), the zombies are creepy, and the story is lively and entertaining. The title, to me, could use a little work, but I exercised my ability to not judge a book by its cover and gave this one a try. I was not disappointed.
First off, the characters. Ali, the main character, is your typical kick-butt, tough-as-nails heroine. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s brave. Her relationship with her little sister, Emma, shows her softer, gentler side, too, adding on to the dynamicness of her character.
Ali’s new best friend Kat is my favorite character, hands-down. She’s just awesome. And she definitely knows it.

“Of course.” She fluffed her hair. “I don’t want to brag, but I’m very high maintenance.”
“Uh, I think low maintenance is what’s desirable.”
“Low maintenance is what’s forgettable. You might want to write that down, underline it, circle it, and put a star by it. It’s golden.”

Seriously, I don’t even know what else to tell you.
Moving on to the boys. Cole, Ali’s love interest, and his band of merry, super scary misfits are pretty interesting to read about. Let’s just say that you can tell that the author, Gena Showalter, writes New Adult romance books, as well. Because the guys in this book are, like . . . animalistic. They snarl. And growl.
Cole’s okay, but he’s not exactly a teddy bear. He’s kind of . . . Hulk, smash! You know? Just very macho-man and violent. I don’t know, though. Ali can be pretty violent, too, so I guess it makes sense. They’re both very sarcastic and snappish, and they can both their own against each other when they talk. I feel like that’s kind of a summary of their entire relationship. Ali’s fierce, Cole’s cocky, and their mutual snarkiness causes them to fall in love with each other.
And the zombies. Showalter doesn’t bother mincing words or softening blows. The fight scenes/death scenes/bloody scenes of any kind are detailed and kind of creepy sometimes, so this book can be a pretty exciting read. It’s not like those other books where the fighting is either hard to follow or way too simple or easy to be real. I really liked Showalter’s style of writing, and she kept me interested throughout the entire story.
Overall, the book is exciting, interesting, and funny, if not a bit overly romantic. I would recommend it to those who like confident, strong characters and an intriguing storyline. I would give this book an 8.9. Okay, that’s it! :)
Thanks for reading,
JC <3

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Synopsis credit to

I read this book on a recommendation from my sister. At first I skeptical, but then I discovered that this book is a surprisingly easy read yet still enjoyable. If you enjoy a book that combines fantasy and sci-fi, you will enjoy "Cinder." This will be a spoiler free review.

The plot for this book is fairly simple and easy to follow. There is a sub-plot at the same time, but it does neither hinder nor really help the story at the moment (although I'm told it does later). Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who lives in New Beijing. It turns out Cinder is "special" in more ways than one and it sends her life spiraling into chaos after her sister catches the disease. There is also the arrival of Queen Levana who is trying to make herself empress, but to do so, she has to marry Cinder's love interest, Prince Kai. There's a bunch politics and war stuff that is more interesting than I make it sound. Don't worry though, it's not an awkward love triangle. Like I said, the plot is easy to follow, but kind of predictable. If I mention much more than I could give it all away. The plot was one of the highlights of the book, but the characters and romance were one of the lower points.

If you're looking for a romance filled book, this is not your thing. There is romance, but not a lot of it. It's sprinkled in with nothing scraping anything that "intense" at all. There's a few cutesy moments, but nothing that gratifying to anyone who want to see the main characters get together.

The main character of this book are Cinder and Kai, with the later being the love interest and more of a side character. There wasn't anything about Cinder that really stood out to me however in terms of personality. She was a stereotypical heroine that we see in anything sci-fi today. She was a cyborg though, but the author didn't fully play out that attribute. I would have liked to have learned more about her cyborg part like maybe how they worked. Cyborgs are a cool aspect in themselves and I hope the concept is explored more in later books. The author did a good job of writing in character descriptions and I actually had an idea of what the main character looked like. I kept on imagining her with her work gloves on. She is a bit slow in the brain though. She takes a while to make a conclusion that I'm sure most people figured out as soon as they saw the hint. I do like the way Kai is written in though.

  The author didn't just add the prince prefix to make it sound cooler, she actually wrote him like, well a prince. We saw him attend political meetings and make decisions with other country leaders. He had character quirks/habits that were recognizable and nicely reoccurring. Character quirks, in my opinion, make a character feel more real and personable.

Overall, I would give this book a 8.5 out of 10. It's an easy read and you should definitely check it out.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

    I’ve read the majority of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ books (Raised by Wolves, Tattoo, etc.), and I have mixed feelings about them. They have great storylines and great characters, but what her series lack are good endings.
Honestly, the stories really are great, and I really enjoy reading them--up until the very end. I’m not really sure how to explain it . . . let’s just say that Barnes’ series tend to end more with a ba-- than with a bang.
Let me clarify: the endings are just not satisfying. I mean, when I was finished with the third book of Raised by Wolves, I was seriously confused as to whether or not there was another book in the series, even though I knew that it was a trilogy. I don’t regret reading the books (I mean, hello--werewolves), and I keep reading her books in the hope that she’ll finally finish her books while actually making them feel finished, but I always seem to be disappointed.
Okay, so on to the actual book. For those of you who have read Barnes’ The Naturals, you might have seen, as I did, that the book was like a YA version of the TV show Criminal Minds. Well, The Fixer is like Scandal for teens. I haven’t watched a lot of Scandal, but from what I’ve seen, Tess’s sister Ivy kind of seems like this book’s Olivia Pope.
A lot of the political stuff would have went straight over my head (unfortunately, I can honestly say that I don’t really know what a congressman does . . . kind of sad, I know) if not for the thorough explanations that Barnes fit in throughout the book. She does a great job keeping the reader interested by making sure that we can understand everything.
The characters are pretty impressive, as well. Lots of dimension--everyone seems to be pretending to be something they’re not, and seeing glimpses of their true selves makes me want to learn more about them. Tess in particular is pretty awesome; she’s completely capable of taking care of herself and she’s an easy character to cheer for.
The summary is slightly deceiving--Tess doesn’t really fix a whole lot of problems at her new high school. But her intelligence and the likeness to her ‘fixer’ sister Ivy is clearly shown in the main plot of the story.
The plot was really interesting, and I think that Barnes did an amazing job at not being predictable. There are tons of plot twists, and just when you’re convinced that you’ve figured it all out, Barnes throws you for a loop again. The story managed to keep my attention throughout the entire book, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out. Let’s just hope that this series ends just as well as it started.
So overall, I thought this book was really interesting and intriguing, and I definitely recommend it. I know I say that for all the books that I review on here, but I kind of tend to review books I either really liked or really didn’t like (and there aren’t a lot of books that I really don’t like). I’ll try to remedy that.
Wow, this was a long review. Sorry for getting off-track so often, but anyway, my rating for this book is an 8.9 out of 10. Okay, that’s it! Comment below or email us at if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments! :)
Thanks for reading,
JC <3