Author: chelyanhaley

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collections of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores it’s decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have even been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

My friend, Stephanie, was the first person to actually recommend this book to me. I had been wanting to read it for some time and since I trust Stephanie’s judgement, I asked her to bring me her copy. With all the schoolwork I have, it took me about a week to read the book. There were times when it took all of my self-control to put this book down so that I could do what I had to do. It is incredibly well written, but the photographs are what make this novel special. Ransom Riggs did a miraculous job at entwining this story with those pictures, even if some of them really give me the creeps. And another thing: for a paranormal novel, these characters are incredibly real. They are very relatable and almost seem “normal”, which is strange because they have some of the weirdest powers and peculiarities you’ve ever read about. This is a book you want to crawl inside of and wander through. It’s funny, it’s suspenseful, it will reel you in from the start. Jacob is a totally awkward, absolutely regular teenager who has more curiosity than anything else. One thing that really struck me is the fact that he seems to keep a cool head when you know any actual person would be flipping the hell out; but otherwise, I see no flaw. I am having trouble waiting for The Hollow City, book two of the series.

The Program by Suzanne Young

theprogramIn Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them

This is a fairly normal dystopian book, which is good because every once and a while, you need a break from the ones that create an entirely new world. There are no nations on the brink of a thermonuclear war or aliens threatening to destroy all of freaking humanity or any of that stuff we’re used to in dystopia. Instead it deals with an issue that is familiar to everyone, only on a larger scale: suicide in teenagers. Suzanne Young did a brilliant job crafting a story around an extremely delicate subject. This Program seems like a good idea…at first. In order to keep those at risk from committing suicide, the Program takes certain memories; in turn, these kids are basically stripped of their personalities. Of course, those who are most leery will usually be admitted to the Program involuntarily. As good as the whole story is, the protagonist kind of gets on my nerves. At the beginning, Sloane just seemed a bit too whiny and too helpless for my tastes. I understand that she has been through a lot and has been too strong for too long and all that jazz but she’s one of those characters I really just clashed with, head first. James is sweet and strong and a bit of a daredevil. I totally want one. All in all, it’s a good read worthy of a recommendation. I’m waiting for the second 🙂

Of Posiedon by Anna Banks

12425532Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .
Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

 

I’m not really into mermaid books so you can imagine how I was to start this one, especially with all of the mixed reviews. It began kind of slow, but it eventually caught my attention. To me, it seemed like a very cute, summer-y book, which makes it weird that I’m writing it now, in late September… Anywho*, I really liked this one because it was a light read. It wasn’t dark and serious and heavy like paranormal YA usually is. It was nice to get a break from that foreboding tenseness. I mean it still has a nice plotline, but it’s straightforward, uncomplicated.  No crazy twists and turns. It was almost predictable. I liked it. The characters were less serious, more normal. They’re dorky and cheesy and well rounded in their awkwardness. They just happen to be from the sea. Emma seems completely normal, though she’s traumatized -of course, it wouldn’t be paranormal YA if she wasn’t and you all know it- by her friend’s death. She seems to me like a really bubbly and just happy person (or maybe Honors English has just fried my brain with all of those think-outside-the-story character sketches). Galen is just OMfreakingG adorable. Like, he’s the sweet, awkward, but still kind of sexy boyfriend you wanted before you discovered book bad boys. Emma and Galen are really cute together and it’s made quite clear that they’ll do anything for each other. But I’m not gonna give spoilers! If you want a beachy book to cheer you up during autumn or just want a charming but quick read, you should totally go for this one.

*Yep, it’s a made-up word that is completely irrelevant and doesn’t make any actual sense but you’ve heard it before.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

leighbardugoSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

 Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

 Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Has anyone else noticed the immense amount of praise this book has gotten lately? Nearly everyone recommends it and at least 90% of the reviews are positive. I tend to be a non-conformist to the bandwagon of popular reads but I finally gave in and bought this book, partly because Leigh Bardugo is on the list of attending authors to Decatur Book Festival this year. It took me a while to make myself read it but I was immediately sucked in. I am very sorry that I doubted all the blogger and all the great things I’d heard. THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. So amazing that I used CapsLock on a whole sentence for the first time ever in one of my posts. This book is so dynamic and different that you’re instantly enthralled. The world is different, the powers are different, the characters even have a different air to them. Alina is a tough girl who is pulled from everything she knows because she has this extremely special power and I think she handles it pretty well. She hates standing out and goes to every length possible to blend into the background. But, of course, she always stands out. And I’ll share my views on the love triangle, like I always do. I totally love the Darkling. Don’t hate me! I don’t know if I have this instinct to root for the boy you know the heroine shouldn’t be with or if it’s about power or what; I feel that way about Warner in Tahereh Mafi’s books, so I’m building this theory. Anyway, there was just something that I didn’t like about Mal. Yeah, he was sweet and took care of her. But after a while adorable little love-struck boys get on my nerves. So yeah, join the bandwagoners and love this book.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

katiemcgarrySo wrong for each other…and yet so right.

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 have never 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 to love again. 

Let me just start by saying that this is one of my newest yet most favorite reads. It just immediately draws you in. It completely compels you and doesn’t release your attention until you’ve finished the book. And even then, I thought about it for a week. I had a book hangover so bad that I didn’t read or reread anything else for probably 10 to 12 days. I still think about it all the time. This is one of those books that I don’t know if I can review properly-because 1) The feels are incredible and leave me unable to form coherent sentences when I talk about it sometimes and 2) I’m afraid no one will appreciate it as  much as I do-but I’m going to try. Okay, so it starts out with both Echo and Noah shrouded in mystery. You know very few things about either of them until the story really gets going. But their baggage isn’t dumped on you all at once. The people in the story are so honest and broken that they feel more real than almost any others you read about. This book is so genuine that it almost seems non-fiction. Like an autobiography of two teenagers smashed into one. You get a steady bit of knowledge that keeps you interested but doesn’t overwhelm you. Those slowly revealed details will ultimately run the plot of the story. Seeing as I have a one-track-mind, I don’t really want to tell you a lot because I’ll tell you everything (hmm, deja vu of one of my last posts). However, I can say that if you’ve ever felt like your world is ending, you should read this; you should also read this if you love having your emotions screwed with AND a great stories about redemption and forgiveness. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I did learn something about myself as I read this. I think that was a large contributing factor in how much I love this. Not only is it romantic, funny, and emotional, but it also makes you think about when or if you’ve been in a character’s place. Katie mentioned on her website that she wants someone to read her book so much that the cover comes off and I think this one is totally worthy of that. But since it’s actually Aunt Angela’s book, I don’t think I can do that…

I know that some of you are going to hate me because this post is even more vague than they usually are (I told you next to nothing about it) but trust me on one thing: This book is essential reading material. Go buy it ASAP.

Invisibility by David Levithan & Andrea Cremer

andreacremerdavidlevithanStephen is used to invisibility. He was born that way. Invisible. Cursed.

Elizabeth sometimes wishes for invisibility. When you’re invisible, no one can hurt you. So when her mother decides to move the family to New York City, Elizabeth is thrilled. It’s easy to blend in there.

Then Stephen and Elizabeth meet. To Stephen’s amazement, she can see him. And to Elizabeth’s amazement, she wants him to be able to see her—all of her. But as the two become closer, an invisible world gets in their way—a world of grudges and misfortunes, spells and curses. And once they’re thrust into this world, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how deep they’re going to go—because the answer could mean the difference between love and death.

Was anyone else absolutely dying of excitement when you found out that Andrea Cremer (Nightshade series) and David Levithan (Everyday, Lover’s Dictionary, The Realm of Possibility…just to name a few) were co-authoring a book? Because I thought I was having serious heart complications. Rachael and I heard a few mixed reviews and it made us a little hesitant. We loved both writers and were, like, freaking out because “What if they both just had a really awful time writing and it makes the book terrible?” and “I’ll be so, so mad if they mess this book up.”  But even skeptical, I was determined to read it. So I ordered the book. To start off, whoever wrote those mixed reviews and made us question Andrea and David: you should totally be ashamed. I’m sorry. I know that’s rude and impolite and mean, judging people for what they think about a novel, but I can’t help it. It was so great. Like, even if you read only the reviews that rate it as 5 star, you won’t expect it to be as good as it really is. I finished it in about 3 hours and actually texted Rae at nearly midnight telling her to buy it ASAP. My very favorite thing about this book is that it doesn’t fit a paranormal sub-genre to begin with. You don’t really know the YA genre it fits until about midway through the book. I loved that little mysterious factor. I refuse to spoil any book but this is one that I can’t say much about without a torrent of story-ruining information. What I mean is, there are so many twists and turns and little unexpected details that you never see coming. There are parts that make you sad, parts that make you happy, parts that temporarily confuse the hell out of you, and parts that give you hope in the great characters. Honestly, there wasn’t a second that I wasn’t on the absolute edge of my seat. It’s certainly the most action packed book I’ve read in a while. Probably ever. It’s great. It’s amazing. Go buy it!

Splintered by A.G. Howard

aghowardAlyssa Gardner hears the thoughts of plants and animals. She hides her delusions for now, but she knows her fate: she will end up like her mother, in an institution. Madness has run in her family since her great-great-great-grandmother Alice Liddell told Lewis Carroll her strange dreams, inspiring his classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

But perhaps she’s not mad. And perhaps Carroll’s stories aren’t as whimsical as they first seem.

To break the curse of insanity, Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole and right the wrongs of Wonderland, a place full of strange beings with dark agendas. Alyssa brings her real-world crush, Jeb, with her, but once her journey begins, she’s torn between his solidity and the enchanting, dangerous magic of Morpheus, her guide to Wonderland.

But no one in Wonderland is who they seem to be–not even Alyssa herself.

Okay, so what person wouldn’t be absolutely mesmerized by that cover? I don’t think I’d want to be friends with you if you weren’t intrigued by it.  I mean, just look at it. If you’re amazed with the cover picture, then you’ll be hooked on the story by the end of the first paragraph. With so many retellings being hyped up in the YA genre, I can see why you’d be weary. I’ve been let down by them, too. But this is not a retelling! It’s a spin-off, meaning you aren’t being told the same old story; it’s being added onto. You’re reminded of things that Carroll wrote, but it’s not overbearingly boring. Most of the things in AAiW are countered by the things that Alyssa discovers, which adds intrigue and gives it a strong identity and a unique feel. And Alyssa is a character that I just want to be my best friend. She wears what she likes, acts how she thinks is appropriate, and she’s a total smart aleck. She stands up for what she believes. She stands up for the people she cares about. She is honestly the coolest heroine I’ve read about in a while. I’d really like to share my opinions on the whole Jeb-vs.-Morpheus-thing but with my big mouth, I’ll spill the entire story and you’ll hate me forever. All I’m going to say is that Jeb is definitely who I would have chosen. I don’t know why you’d choose Morpheus, honestly. Okay, that’s it. I’ll end up telling it all if this continues. As for the book as a whole, find it immediately. Seriously. It’s the best thing in the world.

I should warn you, though, that you’ll never be able to watch Tim Burton’s film ever again without going “No! This is wrong!! Anita Howard wrote something different and I like it her way!” because that really happened last week. Thanks, ABC Family for airing that movie the day I finished this. I fussed at the television for an hour before giving up and rereading the book.

Highly Anticipated June 2013 Releases

June’s releases look pretty amazing! I’m especially excited for the releases on June 25th because it’s my birthday and The Bell Jar is my favorite book anyway, so I’ll probably order the Anniversary edition (out June 28).

Beneath the Glitter by Elle Fowler & Blair Fowler……….June 4th, 2013

Breathe by Abbi Glines……….June 4th, 2013

Crazy Hot by Melissa de la Cruz……….June 4th, 2013

Elegy (Hereafter Trilogy, book 3) by Tara Hudson……….June 4th, 2013

Insignia by S. J. Kincaid……….June 4th, 2013

Shadows Cast By Stars by Catherine Knutsson……….June 4th, 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo……….June 4th, 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau……….June 4th, 2013

Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin……….June 11th, 2013

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown……….June 11th, 2013

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta……….June 11th, 2013

Burning by Elana K. Arnold……….June 11th, 2013

Linked by Imogen Howson……….June 11th, 2013

Proxy by Alex London……….June 18th, 2013

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore……….June 18th, 2013

Venom by Fiona Paul……….June 18th, 2013

WFT by Peter Lerangis……….June 25th, 2013

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard………..June 25th, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun………..June 25th, 2013

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult &  Samantha van Leer……….June 25th, 2013

The Bell Jar {50th Anniversary Edition} by Sylvia Plath……….June 28th, 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Septeys……….June 28th, 2013

Fallen by Lauren Kate

kateWhat if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

     There’s something achingly familiar abour Daniel Grigori.

     Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screw ups, and security cameras watch every move.

     Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce-he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.

I’ve meant to do this review forever. This book is the perfect mix of romance, suspense, and good vs. evil. If you took any and every supernatural aspect away from this novel, it would be just as amazing. It would be a bit odd, yes, but it’d still be good. You feel for Luce because she has normal teen angst. Then you realize that she’s not really normal, she just kind of gets sucked into this world of angels and devils and all things good and bad. I know everyone who reads this book is going to be, like, absolutely in love with Daniel but I’m gonna be a rebel and say that I like Cam better. I know, he’s bad or whatever but I like his personality more than Daniel’s. Daniel is mysterious at first, and that’s okay, but then he gets all sappy and lovestricken and everything we want a heroine to be. Cam is more straight-forward and honest about himself. And I like “bad boys.” Don’t hate me. Anyway, I recommend this to anyone. I think this and the second book are great, but the series does get awfully slow in the third and fourth books. So, that’s just a warning. Go buy it.

Favorites (Actual Artists)

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So this is like painters, sculptors, and whatnot. I only have 8 favorite pieces of art so it’s short.

Artist; Favorite Work

1) Salvador Dali; Les Elephants

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2) Claude Monet; London, Houses of Parliament. The Sun Shining through the Fog

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3) Andy Warhol; Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of  Venus)

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4) Black & Purple Petunias by Georgia O’Keefe

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5) Sylvia Shaw Judson; The Bird Girl

Bird Girl

6) William Adolphe Bouguereau; Girl Defending Herself Against Love

William Adolphe Bouguereau

7) also by William Adolphe Bouguereau; Cupidon

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8) Diego Rivera; Portrait of Adolfo Best Maugard

Portrait of Adolfo Best Maugard