Friday, 21 June 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

For this review, I have used HTML for the spoilers because that's how it was on Goodreads, but it won't work on Blogger so look out for the red, bolded type if you have not read the book!

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance/Psychology (I have no idea what genre to call this)
Pg #: 408
Reading Span: June 12-14
Rating: **** (four stars)

I love and hate the concept of this novel. I love it because it's brilliant and original, makes a great story, and plays on real world issues. I hate it because it's possible. But the idea works well for a novel.

First, the characters. I have quite a few things to say about Sloane, the main character. I love her because she's realistic. Almost any girl would react similarly to her in the situation she's in. But it doesn't always work for situations in the novel. Sloane is often hysterical and very naive- which can be understood. But I wish she had one memory or thought to cling onto to throughout the book which made her tougher or stronger, to spare us from many hysterical crying scenes. I get it, I really do. I am glad the author made her realistic. But something needs to change.
I like James in the story. I don't particularly like his personality, but his character and signature cockiness works. I liked Lacey, she was fun, but I was never a fan of Realm (more on that later). The interaction between Sloane and her family was sad, but necessary. I couldn't help hating Sloane's mom for doing that to her, even though she thought it was the right decision.

The plot progression was pretty good. I really liked how it was split into three sections of her life-- pre, during, and post Program. It was interesting to see how the interactions between her and other characters changed in each stage, and how Sloane felt without the memories of her past. Her backstory was revealed nicely throughout the novel as well. Some parts of the book were a little dull and uninteresting, but most was enjoyable.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. The main thing that brought my rating from a 5 or 4.5 is because of the unnecessary romance scenes. They were repetitive and didn't add to the story. I went into this book knowing it was a partly romance novel, but I think it would attract more potential readers without some of the romance. References to their type of relationship and certain things that happened that are important later in the novel would be better for me personally because they often bored me.

But the reason I liked this book most is because it made me feel something. Brady's death and the toll it took on his family made me said, but moved. Sloane's struggle <spoiler> after James was taken to the Program </spoiler> nearly made me cry. That was one of the best parts of the book. Anything with Roger made me angry and creeped out. And <spoiler> When Realm betrayed Sloane, and she got the injection that made her forget and he acted like he wasn't to blame and she trusted him blatantly because she couldn't remember he had done the very thing that he was now consoling her about... GAH </spoiler> made me hysterical. Actually. Ask Brianna, she was with me while I was reading it and I was so made I a) Made fingernail marks on the book b) Slammed the book shut and almost threw it across the room c) nearly broke into frustrated tears.

I highly recommend the Program. It is extremely moving, and hits close to home for me, because so many teens are depressed and/or suicidal today. You often hear about it on the news. The scariest part is, what if this happened? What if a government program was instituted into our society? Are scientists looking for a "cure" to depression right now? And, most concerning, how far are we willing to go to find one and put it in place, despite the consequences?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

May Book Spotlight

This is my now-monthly Book Spotlight featuring my favourite book of the month. I am so sorry about the lateness of this post, I was certain I had published it! Anyway, it's been sitting, completely finished but unpublished in my posts for weeks. Anways, in the month of May, my favourite book I read was...

CINDER by Marissa Meyer!

Goodreads Synopsis
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.

I loved Cinder! The book resembled and followed the fairytale, but Meyer wasn't afraid to stray from the original story and add in her own unique elements. I really loved how everything tied together at the end. The characters were interesting and well-described, and I loved the author's writing style. For someone who rarely buys books, it is very high praise for me to say-- Go out and buy this book now!
My rating: 5/5 stars.

I recommend this book to pretty much anyone. It has a little bit of everything! If you enjoy unique spins on fairytales and dystopia novels, I recommend checking this book out. The only people I wouldn't suggest this for is anyone who isn't a big fan of YA books.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Like last month's book spotlight, this novel is the author's debut, so check it out. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Summer TBR

I've decided to combine June, July, and August into a giant TBR for summer. I don't have a theme for summer, but will be reading plenty of "beach reads" (check out next week's top ten tuesday in a week to see my beach reads). I definitely won't get through all these books, but these are just options and books I am really interested in reading and hoping to read during the summer. I'll split it into two lists: one giant list of books I want to read, and one smaller list of more summer-themed books, which are more of a priority. Many of the books on my giant list are ones I haven't thought about in a while, like Brianna at the Book Nook (link in sidebar).

  1. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen 
  2. That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  3. Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
  4. Ingo series (re-read) by Helen Dunmore
  5. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  6. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han 
  7. Paper Towns by John Green 
Big List 

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
  3. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
  5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  6. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  7. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
  8. A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
  9. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
  10. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  11. Pivot Point by Kasie West
  12. That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard
  13. Revel by Maurissa Guibord
  14. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
  15. Taken by Erin Bowman
  16. Eon by Alison Goodman
  17. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  18. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
  19. The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner
  20. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  21. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
  22. Ruby Red by Kristen Gier
  23. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  24. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
  25. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  26. Shine by Lauren Myracle
  27. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  28. Wake by Amanda Hocking
  29. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  30. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepherd
  31. Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson
  32. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall 
  33. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  34. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  35. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I could've found many, many more books for this list (and may read some not on here), but this is all for now. I probably will only get through some on both lists, but hey, it's good to have options, right? Writing this list helped me to remember many books I'd forgotten about! Thanks for reading. What books are you reading this summer? 

Monday, 3 June 2013

May Wrap-Up + Mini-Reviews

So May was prettyyyy crazy, and unfortunately I had little time to read. This was disappointing because I really felt like reading all of this month-- I just didn't have the time, and if I did squeeze in some time, I'd feel guilty about all the stuff I still need to finish. So it was kind of a lose-lose situation.  I am hoping next month will be better and less busy, but at the way my schedule is looking now, this seems very unlikely. :/ Anyhow, I did get a chance to read some great books in May. I have wrote a couple sentences on my general feelings for each one and provided a link for the books I reviewed.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (*** */*)
I finally finished this last month as part of a novel study I've been taking part in. The beginning was slow and dull to me, but it picked up speed and some parts I found very interesting. The dystopia world was interesting since it was set in the Southern USA and Mexico, and the entire book was very unique. However, the last section (La Vida Nueva) was very separate from the rest of the book and the ending was extremely abrupt.

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (***)
Level 2 was not what I was expecting at all, as I was thinking it would be more a otherworldly, action sort of book, where it was actually more contemporary. I also had problems with pacing in this book, as the middle was very slow and seemed as if nothing happened, yet at the end things happened too fast. I found that many of the flashbacks and middle section of the novel were unnecessary or repetitive. The setting, Level 2, was interesting but I would've liked to see more development.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (*****)
Though there were a few slow moments and painfully obvious "twists", I absolutely loved this book! Because they didn't focus too much on the "twist", it wasn't too bad that it was predictable. I loved the writing style and perfect mesh between two of my favourite genres-- Dystopia and fairytale retellings. This book had a little something for everything, and tons of awesome elements that all come together at the end. I can't wait to read Scarlet!

Glitches by Marissa Meyer (****)
After finishing Cinder, I wanted more of this awesome story, so I read Glitches, a 30 page short story. And though this story doesn't really contain anything we don't already know, it was very interesting to see it all from Cinder's eyes at the time and understand the effect the events had on Cinder's step-family.

Shards & Ashes (****) 
It's kind of hard to do a review as this one is an anthology. In my full review, I wrote a mini-review for each story. The general comments I had were not being able to connect to the piece and also development of the world created, which is hard in a short story. Though some I didn't care for, I also really enjoyed a fair amount of the stories as well.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (****) 
The pieces of the puzzle really came together in this novel with gorgeous illustrations and a unique perspective. The characters were interesting, but sometimes I wasn't a fan of Hugo and his actions because it limited the story, despite the fact I understand why he did the things he did. I loved the setting of Paris. The incorporation of old films was awesome too. However, I felt like something was missing that I couldn't place, or couldn't connect with.

Mind Games (**)
I was quite disappointed with this read. It was very bland-- I wanted assassins and action and I got repetition of the same things, the same thoughts. I didn't like the writing format (how it jumped from past to present and the way that was executed) or the writing style for Fia's chapters. Many of the characters seemed underdeveloped or superficial. I don't think I will be reading the books following Mind Games.

The amount of books looks like more than it is because one was a short story, one was a illustrated novel, one I read most of last month, one I read some of last month and is a short story anthology, and two are very short books.

Thanks for reading! My June TBR will be up shortly. What did you read in May, and what do you want to read in June?