Friday, January 3, 2014

Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader

Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: August 18, 2013
Source: Publisher
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Rating: A
Goodreads

Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape.

But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s fa├žade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?

I really wish that I got to read Escape from Eden sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, my classes got in the way this past semester. Eventually... winter break came and rescued me from my exams and semester long projects, which means I finally got to devour this little beauty. After finally reading Escape from Eden, I can honestly say it was nothing short of sensational.

I've always had a slight interest in cults and how the brainwashing typically comes into play. Why are these people so gullible? How can they really believe everything this cult leader is saying, no matter how bizarre it may be? Living in the world that Nadar created was mind-boggling in the best possible way. Sure, this novel is a work of fiction but after doing some research about cults this past semester, I've come to learn some of the events that occurred in  Escape from Eden aren't that far off from some real life events that have happened in the past. After learning that, well, I'm officially creeped out.

The first half-ish of Escape from Eden wasn't totally eventful but it was still completely compelling. You get to learn about the community, Edenton, that Mia and her family resides in. I found Mia to be relatable and authentic in her actions and was happy to root for her throughout the story. The romance in the story isn't the main focus and I enjoyed that, because much bigger and more important things were happening. For how much romance there is, it's done well and adds a little something to keep readers interested.

The second half-ish of Escape from Eden is shocking and sickening and I loved every minute of it. I kept catching myself trying to read ahead to see what happens, and then covering the rest of the page up to contain myself. I really respect the author and publisher for keeping Escape from Eden a standalone novel because I'm sure it could have easily been turned into another trilogy in the YA world. BUT, they kept it a standalone and it worked out perfectly.

If you couldn't already tell, I completely recommend this book to anyone interested in cults or even wanting an exciting read. If you decide to check it out, I'd love to know what you think! Leave a comment down below and let me know your thoughts.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles #1) by Cristin Terrill

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: BEA
Edition: ARC
Pages: 368
Rating: C
Goodreads

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

After hearing All Our Yesterdays being talked about during the YA Editor's Buzz panel at BEA, I knew I had to score a copy of it-one way or another. At the time, I hadn't read any time travel books and it wasn't at the top of my priority list, either. However, the editor (whose name is escaping me) persuaded me to give All Our Yesterdays a shot. As much as I'd like to agree with the majority of All Our Yesterdays' fans, I honestly wasn't impressed.

I think the reason I'd avoided time travel books in the past is because I don't like the feeling of confusion. For the most part, I like to know what's happening during a book, and for the majority of All Our Yesterdays, I was so confused. Towards the end of All Our Yesterdays, most of the questions I had were answered... I just wish it didn't take so long. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy books that keep me guessing... but by the end, I grew so impatient that I didn't care about the ending that much.

Even though I didn't care so much for All Our Yesterdays, I understand why others do. The writing is really engaging and the whole idea is fantastic. The characters were really intriguing and overall, I did care what happened to them... just not enough to want to continue the series. I really wish I enjoyed this one more but I guess what they say is true: you can't make everyone happy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hereafter (Shadowlands #2) by Kate Brian


Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source: BEA 2013
Edition: ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy)
Pages: 320
Rating: B+

Summary and review of Hereafter may contain spoilers from the series' first novel, Shadowlands.

Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique--including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.

But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again.

YES! Hereafter was a whopping improvement from the first book in the series, Shadowlands. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Shadowlands, but I expected it to blow me away and it unfortunately didn't. Hereafter, however, was much better!

I didn't expect Hereafter to creep me out as much as Shadowlands did. After the mystery within Shadowlands was revealed, I thought all of the spookiness would disappear, and I. Was. Wrong. The creep factor absolutely remained in Hereafter, which I was so excited by since I rarely read anything of this nature. It's such a fun change of pace for me!

Kate Brian has a special quality to her writing that just sucks you in and doesn't let you go. Just like with Shadowlands, I had a difficult time putting Hereafter down. I can't be sure if it's just because the writing flows so well or if the storyline is just that gripping. Actually, it's probably a combination of both.

Even though I really enjoyed Hereafter, it was a little predictable at times. I wish there were a few more plot twists that shocked me, but that's okay. I have a feeling the next installment will have me guessing and then BAM! Totally (and hopefully) shock me.

Overall, Hereafter was a pretty satisfying read that left me craving more. Even though there are some predictable parts within, I would recommend it for anyone wanting a quick and spooky read, especially since Halloween is right around the corner!


Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly feature that lets us share what titles we're waiting on!


What I Thought was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

As some of you may know, I adored My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I read and reviewed it during the summer and thought it was just fantastic. I'm so excited to get my hands on What I Thought was True and hopefully it'll be just as great as MLND.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hey there! I'm Nick!

All right, so I'm really bad at writing introduction posts of this sort, but I'm going to give it a try. I'm Nick, and like everyone else here I'm pretty into shamelessly devouring and just as shamelessly enjoying the occasional "young adult" book, series--what have you. Chances are, if I'm reading a young adult novel it's going to be dystopian, futuristic, post-apocalyptic... something of that nature. Maybe not, I can enjoy a good romance, an arresting mystery, or just trashy teen lit in general. But I'm going to be brutally honest and opinionated, so if you read a review of mine, take it with a grain of salt. I'm going to back up my judgments, but if you don't agree with them, that's all right. Everyone is different. A review is just that, it's not an end-all, and you should never not read a book just because of one review.

So yeah. What I'm into besides teen lit: I love videogames. I love writing. My favorite writer is David Sedaris, he's a hysterical genius. My favorite film is Girl, Interrupted. My favorite book/series is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the series it belongs to (the Millenium trilogy). I love Girls; Lena Dunham is my spirit animal. I'm also helplessly addicted to American Horror Story.

I guess that's about it? Look out for my reviews and my keen male insight!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Goodreads
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Source: Bought (Barnes & Noble)
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 316
Rating: A+

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Tears. The Fault in Our Stars produces many, many tears. I'm sure you've already heard this before, though. I know that almost every other book blog in existence has already reviewed The Fault in Our Stars, but I figured I'd give my two cents as well, anyway! Even though I haven't read any "cancer books", I know that The Fault in Our Stars is so much more than that. I was actually a smidge bit anxious going into The Fault in Our Stars because John Green is supposed to be this YA legend. He has such a huge fan base and so many readers adore him. In the past, I've read Looking for Alaska and while I thought it was good, it wasn't as amazing as I hoped it would be. With that said, The Fault in Our Stars turned me into another adoring reader of Green's. I don't think any other author has ever made me sob in the way that Mr. Green did, and for that, I applaud him.

Going into this book, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen. Bloggers were saying things along the lines of "The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read!" That can obviously only mean one thing, right? Wrong. Because I was so confident about my predictions, I didn't expect the unexpected. With that said, don't try and figure out what's going to happen. Why? Because The Fault in Our Stars isn't the type of book to keep guessing through. Just read it, indulge, and (silently, or in my case, deafeningly) weep.

What I liked the most about The Fault in Our Stars is that it felt so genuine. I didn't feel like I was reading a YA novel that was written by a 30 year old male (no offense, Mr. Green!) I felt like I was reading the true story of the exquisite Hazel Grace Lancaster and how she met her soul mate, Augustus Waters. Speaking of Augustus... can more people like him exist? Pretty please? Augustus is so unforgettable and will definitely stay in my heart forever as one of my favorite characters. You would think because I'm so obsessed with the main characters of The Fault in Our Stars, that I might not have enough room in my heart for any minor characters. WRONG, again! I pretty much fell in love with every character from The Fault in Our Stars besides Monica, even the characters I'm probably meant to dislike. They were just perfect, but flawed, but oh so perfect. I want to meet all of them.

I can't tell you how many pages of this book that I bookmarked (I could... but that would take a while.) I'm not the type of reader to mark my favorite pages or passages because nothing usually captures my attention enough to make me stop reading and do it. I made sure to do this with The Fault in Our Stars though. There's something about the way this book made me feel, that I know when I return to certain passages, the same feelings will return and it'll be amazing. This book just understood me. This was definitely a huge, gushy, choppy review, but I hope you've taken everything I just said into consideration.

If you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars yet, I highly, highly encourage you to do so, and please let me know what you think! If you've already read The Fault in Our Stars, let me know what you thought in the comments or leave me a link to your review!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly feature that lets us share what titles we're waiting on!

Until It Hurts to Stop by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publication Date: September 12, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?

In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?

I've heard so many amazing things about Jennifer Hubbard. This sounds like an incredible, dramatic read and I hope I get the chance to read it!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Current Obsession (1)

Hey readers! This is a feature I've been wanting to introduce for quite some time now. I think I'm going to call it "Current Obsession" and it's completely inspired by the monthly "favorites" videos that may be seen on YouTube  (ex: missglamorazzi, Tanya Burr, & DulceCandy87).

While BAM Book Reviews is primarily a YA book blog, I thought I would mix things up around here and show you all some random obsessions of mine. These obsessions can range from TV shows, movies, music, makeup, food, etc. For now, I'm going to stick to featuring one "obsession" per post. I'm so excited about this new feature because I'll get to share some of my other interests besides books and hopefully introduce all of you to some cool new things!

"From the creator of “Weeds” comes a heartbreaking and hilarious new series set in a women’s prison. Piper Chapman’s wild past comes back to haunt her, resulting in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper trades her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates."

Okay, so I jumped on the bandwagon that was rolling through Twitter. You caught me! Orange is the New Black is absolutely my new obsession. I'm twitching now that I've ended season one and have to wait for season two to be streaming on Netflix. I started watching this show on a Friday night and then finished the season finale on the following Monday night/Tuesday morning. THAT'S CRAZY for me. This show is a complete addiction and I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 18 (due to mature content.)

I had a feeling I would love Orange is the New Black because Jenji Kohan created it. As soon as I learned that Kohan was behind this marvelous show, I knew I had to watch it. Kohan also created Weeds which is one of my other favorite shows that you should watch (if you haven't already!)

As you can tell from the description of above of OITNB, the setting is a women's prison. Personally, I've always had such a fascination with prison so this show was especially interesting to me. However, I think it will appeal to a large audience: males and females of most ages. The show centers around so many different types of characters of different ethnicities and ages. I think that's why the show is doing so well so far. There always seems to be a story that someone in the audience can relate to and I adore that.

I was beginning to rethink my subscription to Netflix but now that Orange is the New Black is exclusive on it, my subscription will be staying put. Once again, I highly, highly recommend this show to anyone and everyone (mostly over the age of 18) and hope you adore it as much as I do!