Apr 25, 2011

Giveaway of the Week!

I'm going to try something new because I know I love giveaways, and so do a lot of other people. That being said, I can't do a giveaway every week (wouldn't that be awesome?), but I can direct you to a really cool giveaway.

So, without further ado, this week's giveaway :

Apr 23, 2011

Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 4.26.2011
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian
Series: Yes; Book #1 (Bumped)

Rating:  D-

Summary (from Goodreads):
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

I’m honestly at a loss for what to say in this review, so I’ll keep it short and simple. As you can tell by my rating, I didn’t like this book at all which I found immensely disturbing. Since reading the first Jessica Darling book, I have adored Megan McCafferty. I found her writing style fun and refreshing and honest. That’s why I almost feel like another author wrote this book.

I found the characters of Melody and Harmony to be grating. Melody was so concerning with bumping and pregging and cute maternity clothes that she immediately turned me off. On the flip side you have Harmony who annoyed me to no end with her overly religious ranting and judgments. The book flip-flops perspectives every other chapter as to allow the reader a better insight into the minds of both Melody and Harmony. This only served to make me question which one I disliked more.

The jargon of the book is tedious and confusing, and had the characters evolved into people I could potentially like, that might have saved the story. Instead, I was ready to jump ship by the time Melody was trying on “FunBumps” around page 50. I skipped ahead to see if it got any better, and sadly it did not.

I will say that the plot itself is dynamite. As far as dystopian novels go, this is one idea that truly pushes the boundaries as to what is socially acceptable. A world where teenagers are vying to get pregnant and adults encourage it? Freaking amazing idea. I just feel this book poorly executed it.

I went into this book excited and came out exhausted—and not in the fun kind of way. For fans of McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series, this book is most assuredly not that. I recommend reading this one with caution.

***I will say that for every one negative review there are at least 2 good ones. Just because I didn’t like this book doesn’t mean you won’t. I read reviews for this one myself to see if I was the only one not feeling it, and I was surprised by the amount of people who loved it as much as I didn’t love it. I recommend you read more reviews if you’re unsure before buying this book.***

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publication Date: 3.2.2010
Pages: 323
Genre: Paranormal
Series: Yes; Book #1 (Hex Hall)

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

I know a book is special when it has me giggling aloud by the close of the first chapter.  Rachel Hawkins keeps the reader delightfully amused and eager to read more with her quick wit and energetic story. The pace does not relent, and Hawkins does not tease her readers nor bog them down with unnecessary details.

Sentenced to spend the remainder of her high school years in Hecate Hall (appropriately nicknamed “Hex Hall”), Sophie Mercer is on her own. From her first encounter with a werewolf that greets her by charging at her to Sophie realizing her true place in the Prodigium society, I never stopped loving this character. Sophie is such a fun, genuine girl that I was rooting for her before I finished page one. Rarely have I read a book where I so thoroughly felt like I knew the main character.

Sophie is such a magnificent character that I honestly felt like all the other characters paled in comparison. While I loved Jenna , the “Trinity” and the staff of Hex Hall, I wish I knew more about them. The only character I felt like I had a good sense of was Archer Cross (who I desperately hope to see more of in future books—I think there’s a lot more to his story than meets the eye). My only critique is that, with the exception of Archer, the rest of the cast sometimes came off as fluff filler. I felt no real emotion towards them because I didn’t feel Sophie had a very strong bond to them.

I’m typically a romance fan first. I grab a book looking for that magical melding of soul mates. I’m a sap, and I know it. While Hex Hall dabbles in the romance department, I never once felt cheated by the lack of a storybook romance. This book is breath of fresh air in the paranormal fiction department. If this book is any indication, Rachel Hawkins is a name YA fans need to familiarize themselves with. With this smashing debut, she’s definitely here to stay.

Apr 4, 2011

And the winner is.....

I actually have 2 winners to announce:

Congratulations to Blakeley McC. for winning Wither by Lauren DeStefano!
Blakeley also has a blog I recommend y'all check out: http://thebookbell.blogspot.com

Congratulations to Cody (evrythngzen) who was the winner of the Fools For Books giveaway! Cody won Nevermore by Kelly Creagh!

Thanks to everyone who participated! Keep checking back to The Irish Banana for more reviews and more giveaways!