Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Perfect Chemistry Review

Title: Perfect Chemistry
Author: Simone Elkeles
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Genre: Fiction

Summary:When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel
before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

My Review:
I finished this book the day I got it! My friend told me to read it and the second it got in my
hands I wouldn't let it go. I love the Latino attitude in the story and life of it. I liked that it opened my eyes to what really is going on in a Latino family living basically on the streets. Alex Fuentes has such an awesome sense of humor. I was laughing the whole time. The point of view with Brittany also opened my eyes that not all stuck up cheerleaders at high school are all evil. Most of them have a reason to it! I loved the chemistry and flirtatiousness in the book. Although there are many vulgar words in the book, all in all I really liked it. I do not recommend to the guys to ever speak to a young lady the way the Latinos were hitting on the girls, keep in mind that if you do, then you wont get girls! Hahaha, this book really caught my attention and I cant wait to read the sequel!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Book Thief Review

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Pages: 549 (paperback)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary from Goodreads: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

My Reaction:

Liesel Meminger’s life was never quite the same, after her mother leaves her, and her brother dies. She seeks refuge, though she finds it in the most peculiar of places: books.

She resorts to anything and everything to get her hands on a book—though only books that she feels fair to steal. There is honor among thieves. Doing everything from snatching a burning book from a fire, to reading the waterlogged pages of a book retrieved from a river, she reads. Words come quickly to her, as she practices with her foster father, Hans Hubberman nightly, to chase away the nightmares of her past.

One of the best things about this book is the highly unusual narrator, Death. Now, many people don’t often think of death as a person, more of an event, that we like to avoid. But the author, Markus Zusak, puts an omnipresent face and voice to this event, giving it life. It was a daring move, undoubtedly, to make Death your narrator in 1942 Germany, but he pulled it off spectacularly.

My favorite thing about this book is how the author never watered things down, or made the tragic events that took place sound not-so-bad. He tells it just how it was. He shows you, with words, just how awful it was, though his dark, oftentimes tragic, humor carries you through to the haunting end. He also shows you, just how powerful a book can be.

The Book Thief is a great read for anyone of the young adult age and up. I would suggest it to anyone and everyone with a passion for reading. I won’t lie to you though, I cried. So, may this recommendation come with a warning, you will laugh, and you will cry. You will feel the burden, and the relief. You will be haunted, and amazed.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Born Wicked

Born Wicked
by Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: February 7, 2012

Summary from Goodreads:
Cate Cahill and her sisters are considered eccentric bluestockings—a little odd, a little unfashionable, and far too educated for their own good. The truth is more complicated; they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it could mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. Before their mother died, she entrusted Cate with keeping them safe and keeping everyone, including their father, in the dark about their powers. When her father employs a governess and Cate begins to receive notes from her missing, presumed-mad godmother, her task becomes much more difficult. As Cate searches for answers in banned books and rebellious new friends, she must juggle unwanted proposals, tea parties, and an illicit attraction to the new gardener. Cate will do anything to protect her sisters, but at what cost to herself?

Why I'm Excited:
Um, did you see the cover? No, seriously. Look at how GORGEOUS it is! I know you're not supposed to judge a book by it's The summary looks pretty interesting too--hopefully it won't be a super dark/creepy book (since I have a very low tolerance for scary things.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vaccine Review

Title: Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver
Author: Arthur Allen
Pages: 554
Genre: Historical Nonfiction
Published: 2008
From Amazon:

Vaccines are one of the most important and controversial achievements in public health. Washington-based journalist Allen explores in depth this dark horse of medicine from the first instances of doctors saving patients from smallpox by infecting them with it to the current controversy over vaccinating preteen girls against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. One thing becomes very clear: fear of vaccination is not a recent problem. In colonial America, inoculations against smallpox were seen by many as a means of deflecting the will of God. In the 20th century, the triumphs of the Salk polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox may actually have led to current antivaccination movements: "as infe ctious diseases disappeared, in part thanks to vaccines, the risks of vaccination itself were thrown into relief." Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry.

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed it’s enthralling description of the development of vaccines, the straightforward and unpretentious manner it put forward the information and the neutral manner that it told of the misguided attempts to ban vaccines as a public health risk. The only problem with this book was that the author was, rather unfortunately, too neutral in his approach. I apologize, but if an individual claims that the smallpox vaccine causes more deaths than smallpox itself, I am going to voice my opinion that this individual never reproduce and be locked up in a mental asylum for the remainder of their days. Individuals who oppose vaccination are threats to public health, pure and simple. These individuals fail to understand that Public Health will always regard the needs of the many over the needs of the few, if a highly virulent disease is set to kill thousands of people and a dozen or so have a bad reaction to the vaccine and die, then that is life and to do otherwise would be highly irresponsible. At the same time however, I admire Mr. Allen for keeping his opinions to himself on a topic I would be hopelessly enraged over. I highly recommend this book, for its entertainment value just as much for its informative value.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Son of Neptune*

Title: Son Of Neptune

Author: Rick Riordan

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Goodreads Summary:

In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,

To storm or fire the world must fall.

An oath to keep with a final breath,

And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Who are the other four mentioned in the prophesy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea. . .

Why I’m Excited

Student #1: I absolutely love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This series picks up where they left off, and when the first one came out I was ecstatic. It was easy to get into and hard to put down. The plot was thick and entertaining and the characters likable. I can’t wait to read this next installment in the series. The Lost Hero left us with a pretty big cliffhanger and I can’t wait to hear what happens next. If it is half as good as The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune will be well worth the wait.

Student #2: I am so excited for this book to come out! The other book, which was amazing, left off at a cliffhanger. I want to know what is going to happen! It has been driving me insane this entire time. I do not want to wait until October 11. It is going to be amazing. The plot is mind twisting, and the entire time I was wanting to know what happened to my favorite character, and when I find out what happened to him it is the very last sentence of the book! Rick Riordan is so cruel to leave the reader hanging on a thread. I want the next book!

Student #3: I am so excited for this book to come out! I read the first one in this new series, thinking that it would be awful because it’s a continuation of the Percy Jackson series but with different characters. Those types of books usually turn out to be a disaster, but that was not the case with The Lost Hero. I loved it! I could barely put it down! I could only take breaks from it when I was too tired to keep my eyes open any longer...other than that, the book was pretty much glued to my hand. Needless to say, the same will be happening with this book...if I can survive the long and seemingly endless months until it’s released.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Death Cure

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3)
By James Dashner

Release Date: October 11, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

Why I'm Excited:

It's the last one! We finally get to find out what happens!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Fury

By Elizabeth Miles
Release Date: August 30, 2011 (less than a week!)

Goodreads Summary:

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen. "Achingly gorgeous. Fury seduced me."--Lauren Kate, New York Times bestselling author of Fallen "A fresh dark twist on paranormal, with surprises around every corner. FURY kept me up all night!" --Nancy Holder, NYT Bestselling Author of WICKED and CRUSADE

Why I'm Excited:

I loooooove books that have ancient mythologies in them, and this one is loosely based off of the Furies--something I haven't seen popping up in most YA. I'm excited for what (I hope) will be an interesting and intriguing story. It's interesting to see the reviews on Goodreads--they seem pretty polarized--but I want to read this one for myself to find out!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Crossed

Crossed (Matched #2)

By Ally Condie

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Why I'm Excited:

I was thrilled when I heard that there was going to be a second book to Matched! As many of us know, Matched was a heart-stopping story that was a definite page-turner. Lots of today’s books involve that all-too-familiar love triangle, but few stories actually pull it off. I am so excited to see what is going to happen between Ky, Cassia and Xander. I love the cover of the book as well, it seems to be the perfect representation of Cassia finally “breaking out of her bubble.” But what will she find on the outside? Can’t wait for it to come out in November!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wither as a Movie?

I had brunch with a friend of mine the other day, and as we were catching up, we started talking about movies we were both looking forward to (The Help and One Day, to name a few) and she mentioned a movie I had never heard of before starring Justin Timberlake.

"It's so cool!" she said. "It takes place in the future, and everyone dies at 25."

Cool idea, I thought to myself. But it sounded a little familiar...where had I heard that before...

"And there's these rich people, who, like have lots of wives and try to live forever."

Sure, she wasn't being super specific, but I had to jump in because I was excited. I had totally read this book!

"Are you talking about Wither? They're making that into a movie already?"

It seemed to fit--people dying at the age 0f 25, multiple wives, rich people...I mean, Hollywood wouldn't rip off ideas that blatantly would they?

She looked at me, a little confused. "I don't know. It's called something with "time." And it has Justin Timberlake." (She really likes Justin Timberlake)

Well, it turns out that she was not talking about a movie adaptation of Wither, but the movie In Time, that comes out on October 28, 2011.

After watching the trailer, I don't think it looks like a rip-off of Wither, even though they do share some similarities. (Oh, and I'm not sure where she got the multiple wives part...I didn't see that in the trailer.) It also reminds me a little bit of the premise of Numbers (or Num8ers), but I haven't actually read Numbers, so I can't really say.

What do you guys think of the trailer? Does it remind you of any books you've read recently?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted be Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases.

Lola and the Boy Next Door

by Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: September 29, 2011

Goodreads Summary-

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Why I Can't Wait-

I’m excited because this is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss. I absolutely fell in love with that one. I really like Stephanie’s writing; it makes it seem much more realistic with her telling actual faults about the characters. You can relate to it more. If Lola and the Boy Next Door is as good as Anna and the French Kiss, then we’re in for another romantic comedy that’s a hit! September won't come fast enough!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dark Secrets Review

Legacy of Lies & Don’t Tell (Dark Secrets #1)

Author: Elizabeth Chandler

Pages: 496

Release date: August 4, 2009

Genre: Mystery

Summary from Goodreads:

Two girls haunted by the past...and destined to relive it

In Legacy of Lies, Megan has to stay with the uptight grandmother she wants nothing to do with. She's determined to get through the visit without any drama, but when she falls into a twisted love triangle with potentially fatal consequences, Megan may be caught up in her family's legacy in more ways than she realizes.

In Don't Tell, Lauren knows that by returning to the town where her mother drowned seven years ago, she'll be reliving one of her most haunting memories. When she arrives, she is propelled into a series of mysterious events that mimic the days leading up to her mother's death. Maybe her mother's drowning wasn't an accident after all...and maybe Lauren is next.”

My Review:

I loved this book. It was well written and enthralling. The author is so good at keeping you on the edge of your seat. You are constantly left wondering what will happen next. You can never predict anything until it actually happens. I loved every page. I never lost interest and the plot stayed on a steady, understandable, and fascinating course. I have read other books by Chandler and they were all fantastic, but this book surpasses even them.

The characters were very well developed. By the end of the book, I really felt like I knew each one. They felt so real, like people you would wave at as you walked down the street. The main character, Megan, is spirited and strong. I never got bored with her and she always kept me turning pages. However, Megan’s gorgeous cousin, Matt, was the one who kept me checking ahead in the book to see when he would come back. To be fair, I must warn that others who I have spoken to about this book thought that it was a little bit too weird for their taste. Regardless, I enjoyed it so much that it is now one of my favorite books.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop WINNER!

Wow. Just, wow.

A big thank you to all our new followers--I'm so excited to see our numbers double from what they were! I hope you'll stick around, because we have some great things planned for the beginning of the school year, and I think a 500 Follower giveaway is just around the corner... (Seriously?! I'm in awe. You guys are AMAZING!)

With 449 entries to choose from, the great chose....

#49 Evk

Congrats! I will be emailing you shortly. Winners have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner is chosen.

Thanks again for entering everyone!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop [closed]

***This is a sticky post. Newer posts will appear below.***

This hop is hosted by Kathy over at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Mary over at Bookhounds.

This is our first giveaway here at Westlake Book Reviews, so we're going to make things simple.

Up for grabs is a $10 giftcard to --OR-- a book that is $10 or less from the Book Depository!

* You MUST be a GFC Follower
*You MUST fill out the form below--comments are appreciated but do not count as entries.
+1 for following @westlakebooks on twitter

Winners will be selected by and announced on August 8.

Thanks for stopping by and have fun on the rest of the hop! You're almost done!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Giveaway at LC's

LC's 500

Head on over to LC's Adventure's in Library Land for her 500 follower giveaway! She is giving away some awesome titles! Here is what you can choose from:

Or, you could not enter, so that I have a better chance at winning :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Power of Six

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases.

The Power of Six
by Pittacus Lore

Release Date: August 23, 2011

Goodreads Summary-

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.
I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.
And I'm ready to fight.

Why I'm Excited-

I am really excited to read this book. I have seen the movie of I Am Number Four and based on the movie I am excited to learn more from this book. It might even be a glimpse for the next movie that they are obviously going to do. Waiting is going to be very hard. I am considering pre-ordering it.