Proud Professional Reader

Professional Reader

About the Blog

Welcome to Paula and Sarina's Book Blog! Avid readers, hard core fan girls of fictional literary male characters, proud library captains. We started this blog because of our love for reading YA novels and decided to share our thoughts on the books we read. We hope you enjoy our blog and contact us if you have any questions :)

Followers

Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email

Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Name: Pushing The Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Date Published: July 31, 2012
Grade: A

Goodreads Summary: No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


Review: I remember reading the summary for this book when it first came out and wanting to read it very badly. However, as the release date passed, Pushing The Limits started slipping lower and lower on my TBR list. Finding myself in a reading slump, I usually turn to novels that are driven by one key element - romance. This novel had romance, but it also contained a emotionally driven story that had me at the edge of my seat throughout my reading experience.

The chapters are told through the point of view of the main characters, Echo and Noah. I find myself being drawn to these stories more now as you can see into the minds of both love interests. Not only is this a major bonus in my books, but I noticed that lately these books are the ones that keep me engaged longer. Thinking back to the book now, I realize that this story reminded me a lot of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. Though not quite up to the level of Millay's masterpiece, Pushing The Limits features alternating points of view and two characters with emotional pasts. Apparently, these stories are my element, and boy do they ever keep a reader entertained.

Another reason why my eyes were glued to this novel was the writing and pacing. Katie McGarry's writing was vivid enough to make each scene translate into movie scenes in my head. Not to mention the scenes between Noah and Echo had butterflies - or as Echo would say pterodactyls - flying rapidly around my stomach.
 When I can find an author who can do that, I know that I can always turn to their novels during any of my reading slumps. The pacing, too, of the relationship and even the revelations of Echo's past pieced together wonderfully and always kept the reader engaged in the plot.

Though this book may have received many mixed reviews (some people loved it and some people just couldn't connect with it), I definitely could not tear myself away from the world Katie McGarry created. Her story reminded me of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles with its sizzling chemistry and complex characters. If you loved Perfect Chemistry then you cannot miss this book. If you haven't read either book, I highly suggest you give both a try!

Happy reading!

~ SARINA

Friday, 2 August 2013
Name: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Date Published: November 13, 2012
Grade: A 

Goodreads Summary: 
Meant to be or not meant to be... that is the question. 


It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


Review: I completely devoured this one, man, I had such a good time reading it. I think it was definitely the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. Like some reviews are saying, I found Meant to Be similar to Anna and the French Kiss: Cute, quirky, FUN.  

Reasons why Meant to Be was meant for me :)))

1. Firstly, the cover screams adorable YA romance (okay I admit I kind of judge books by their covers)

2. Julia, the main character, is one of the most lively, animated characters I've had the pleasure of reading about in a long time. She's awkward, witty, undoubtedly clumsy, a swimmer, a "book licker", a rule follower, and undeniably hilarious.  Her voice is strong and constant throughout the entire book. Not only did her observations and thoughts make me laugh out loud every other page, I found Julia crazy relatable, as I saw so much of myself in her character. 

3. Jason, I admit, came off annoying and arrogant in the beginning, (spoiler... however you should all see this coming anyways) but like Julia, I ended up falling for him hard. His care-free personality and optimism makes him incredibly lovable- how can you not fall for a boy who takes you to a small British Cafe and dances with you? Or serenades you with your favorite Beatles song in a skatebaording park? 

4. The unlikely romance formed between this couple, the strict rule follower and the laid back rule breaker, is swoon-worthy. Watching this young couple experience first love together- without them even knowing that they're falling for each other- is so exciting. It's how most girls my age dream of falling for a guy. Not to mention it takes you on a ten day adventure around London. 

5. Just when you think the story is becoming predictable and you feel as if you already know how everything will end (because that's what I initially thought)- BOOM, Lauren Morrill inserts a twist or two into the plot. I thought the ending was great, perhaps a little rushed though. 

Overall, Meant to Be was a book filled with comedy and romance (kinda like a romcom in book form?). The story kept you on your feet and the characters worked perfectly together. It also offers a little reminder that sometimes, the image we conjure up in our heads of a perfect "happily ever after" can be completely different from reality. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a happy-go-lucky, fun read. 

Have fun laughing out loud to yourself with this one!

PAULA :)


Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Name: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Date Published: March 13, 2012
Grade: A

Goodreads Summary: It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

Review: I just finished this book a couple minutes ago and I'm still stuck in this sort of trance. As I turned that last page, I was already on my way to the computer, prepared to write Wanderlove's review. 

The term "wanderlove" is described as "the places you get, the places that stick in your heart". Throughout the book, this term became more and more clear to me, and it hit me harder and harder, as if I were discovering it for the first time alongside Bria. "Wanderlove" can't exactly be explained; It's a sort of feeling that really makes you feel, like those breathtaking moments where the beauty cannot be captured by a camera, instead you just have to experience it. The book was a bit like that for me, I don't think I can do it enough justice by trying to write a really good review, you guys just have to read it and experience it for yourself. But I will try. 

This book blew me away. It was such a good read. I've always been a huge fan of travelling books... But this one was so different from the typical travel book where girl meets boy abroad, girl falls for boy, girl achieves some sort of self discovery, etc. Although Bria did basically end up doing all of those things, it was so much more than a cute novel about finding one's self. And the writing was incredibly good; the whole story flowed smoothly and perfectly from chapter to chapter, day to day, adventure to adventure. It is also the perfect book to read while on vacation because whilst reading Wanderlove, I had the craziest urge to jump on a plane and backpack around the world. 

Bria, the main character, is an eighteen year trying to re-invent herself. She signs up for an organised tour around Guatemala, in hopes that this new country will bring out a completely different Bria, one that doesn't have to face her ex-boyfriend back at home or the pile of art college admissions at her doorstep or her parents who don't seem to care about her. It's amazing to watch Bria decide to let go of the things that make her sad, and find herself again- bit by bit, drawing by drawing- Seriously, it's one of the most beautiful things about this book. Journeying alongside Bria and watching her not only learn about the liberating life as a backpacker, but also about love, is incredible, to say the least. Bria was so relatable and Hubbard did such a wonderful job of making the readers feel what Bria felt. I loved her as a character. 

The development and growth of Bria and Rowan's relationship is also a beautiful thing to experience. You know how a lot of books have a really frustrating chemistry between two characters who you just know will end up together? When the only thought that goes through your mind while reading their scenes is "KISS ALREADY OKAY!? JUST UGHH HURRY UPPPPP". Well, although Bria and Rowan (SPOILER, BUT NOT REALLY BECAUSE IT'S PRETTY PREDICTABLE) do end up getting together fairly late into the book, their entire relationship throughout the whole book is pretty magical to read. Not to mention, he's adorable.

Enchanting. That's the word that describes this book perfectly. It was enchanting. Inspiring and beautiful, Wanderlove is such a wonderful book about self-discovery, risk-taking, and being happy. It's an important reminder that our pasts do not define us. We cannot cling to our mistakes, but we should not run away from them either. Instead, we need to appreciate the present and look forward to the future. I can go on and on about all sorts of life lessons I've learned from this book, but I think you guys should read it and experience wanderlove for yourselves. A beautiful and extremely well-written story :') 

Happy reading!

PAULA :) 
Monday, 29 July 2013
Name: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Date Published: August 16, 2011
Grade: A-

Goodreads Summary: It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.


Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Review: I know, I know, this is definitely out of character for me- reading a sci-fi book? About a dystopian land where a Global Energy Crisis is occurring? About video games?? Let me explain. I was scrolling through my Kobo's "Must Reads" list, and then this book appeared on the screen. After reading the summary/description, I decided to give it a try because of the raving reviews and the super interesting premise.

Ready Player One is a dystopian novel that takes place thirty years from now. The novel shows how technology will become so addictive and advanced, that by the year 2044, humans will go to school, work, spend money, meet friends, go to parties, and basically live their lives in a virtual universe where they get to choose what they look like, sound like, and act like. There is rarely any more human to human contact, and most of the world chooses to communicate through their avatars online.

I am not going to lie, I was definitely confused at the beginning because I'm not exactly a computer/video games master. The first part of the book contained a lot of video game jargon, explanations about computers and how they work, along with dozens of 80's references. But when Wade found that first key, and the real action began unravelling, the story became so addictive- I just couldn't put it down. I don't think I have ever been so excited while reading a book; It was fast paced, smart, and entertaining.

Wade is basically a genius. At times, it was hard keeping up with his train of thought, but I think overall he is a really solid character. Imagine a young teenage boy, living on his own in a trailer park, a typical outcast of society who is completely devoted to "the hunt". Although flawed, Wade is a witty, super smart underdog. He's that character we sometimes see ourselves in, that character who we cheer for, who we want to see succeed. Wade's growth from an introverted "outcast" who depends on nothing but his computer to survive, to a real human being who falls in love, makes unexpected friends, and emerges an international hero, is so much fun to read. I think Ready Player One is a very good reminder that we cannot solely depend on ourselves to succeed in life. It is also an interesting warning about consumerism in the near future. 

Ready Player One has been my first sci-fi read in a very long time and I can honestly say that I genuinely enjoyed reading it. Although this book isn't one I would typically pick up, I am very glad I chose to read it. Informative, refreshing, and oh so clever, Ready Player One is a wonderful read, especially for you sci-fi readers out there, or for those wanting a break from the typical YA novel. 

Happy reading!

PAULA :) 


Sunday, 28 July 2013
Name: Five Summers
Author: Una LaMarche
Date Published: May 16, 2013
Grade: B-

Goodreads Summary: Four best friends, five summers of camp memories.


The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring... The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth... The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle... The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar...Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. 

Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters.

Review: This book was picked up randomly one day at Chapters; I hadn't heard about it or seen it on Goodreads before, but after reading the summary, I decided it could be a good, fun, light-hearted read- perfect for when you're feeling bored on a hot summer's day. I find myself usually rating the light-hearted books I read fairly low. The reason for that is because most light-hearted, quick reads leave you with a sort of "oh okay" feeling. Nothing too spectacular, nothing too special, nothing that will make you see the world from a different point of view. Although Five Summers was a fun book that kept me engaged most of the time, it didn't seem to have any sort of emotional  impact on me once I turned the last page. All I could really think was, "huh that was nice". 

Five Summers is often compared to Anne Brashare's series,  The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, which I adored. I'm a huge fan of both the books and the movies. I know many people find it cliché to read about a group of girls who are "best friends", but I personally love it, which is why I really enjoyed reading Five Summers for the most part. Although the girls, Jo, Maddie, Emma, and Skylar were no where near as lovable and complex as Tibby, Lena, Bridget, and Carmen, they were still interesting to read about and each girl had her own qualities that were fairly well developed (although three out of the four girls got on my nerves quite often).

Continuing the comparison of the two, I found the friendship in Five Summers quite disappointing compared to The Sisterhood. I don't think readers were able to really see how close the four girls really were because there was just so much drama within the pages. I definitely didn't fully buy their "everlasting" friendship because right from the start, it seemed as if there was always a weird tension in the air between some of the girls, and this tension didn't feel completely resolved at the end. Furthermore, in The Sisterhood, there are some pretty solid love interests (like Kostos, he's pretty perfect, okay...). However, if you're looking for a similar read filled with romance, Five Summers isn't the book you're looking for. The male characters in Five Summers were not ideal, nor romantic, nor adorable- basically, there were realistic, average seventeen year old boys- immature and often exuding with confidence. 

However, because of the drama filled pages, the book was very fast paced and I never once found myself getting bored. Una LaMarche did a great job of keeping readers engaged, even during the sappy, somewhat cheesy "let's make up!" scenes. There was no huge twist and the plot itself was pretty predictable. Five Summers was overall a simple, quick read about friendship and change. 

Hope everyone's summer is going great!

PAULA :)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly feature, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Release Date: October 1, 2013
Baltzer + Bray, 389 pages

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.
Summary taken from Goodreads

This book seems different from all the other stories we've read. It's mature, and it has the potential to either be really good or fairly bad. Much hasn't been said about this release, but the summary is very interesting. We hope that this debut impresses us and cannot wait to read it!

What's on your to-read list?

Friday, 19 July 2013
Name: Golden
Author: Jessi Kirby
Date Published: May 14, 2013
Grade: A

Goodreads Summary: Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.


Review:

"Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

This quote was mentioned many times during this novel and every time I found myself admiring the quote. That and "sometimes we meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it".  As you can most probably already tell, this books was beautifully written and incredibly good. It's a story within a story about a girl, Parker Frost, who has always lived her life the way her mother envisioned it. Being class valedictorian and a candidate for a full ride scholarship to Berkeley, she has had a safe, boring life. Until she falls upon a journal of a dead resident of her town, who happened to be the perfect girl. Julianna had a perfect life that was ended way too soon, and Parker takes a chance and reads her journal. From that point on, her life was never the same.

When I first looked at the book, I thought that it wouldn't be possible to be that great because it looked like a really thin book. And it was, but Jessi Kirby wrote the story so well that the length was perfect to encompass the story. Her writing was easy to understand and like I said above, beautiful. There were so many words that made me think which always shows how well written a novel is. When an author can make you consider their words.

There were multiple love stories in this book but that of the main character wasn't the main one, surprisingly. Though it was nice to read, it was light. The story within the main one was the one that entertained me. It was sorta predictable, but I love the direction it took.

This book was a summer delight. Being both deep and light, the story will keep you entertained, and you will have no trouble getting into this one. I haven't read any other novels by Kirby, but I definitely plan on catching up after this one!

Happy reading!

~SARINA