My Top Three Reads of 2014

People like to set goals for themselves during the new year: New Year’s Resolutions. Because of my love for reading, I am proud to say that I completed my reading goal of 50 books last year. With that amount, I finished some amazing series and books. This is my list of Top Three Reads read in 2014.

unmarked1) Unmarked by Kami Garcia

This book is the sequel to another I reviewed a while back, Unbreakable. That book is still my favorite out of all the ones I’ve read. I love the supernatural mystery of it. I was in love with it so much that I had to countdown the days to when this book came out.

**SPOILERS!! Must have read Unbreakable!**

The story begins with Kennedy at her new boarding school, where she was put after the police found and interrogated her that night in the rain. She’s on her own now. The Legion left to work. Their job has just begun, with Andras now free. But Andras has a mission too. He’s looking for Kennedy. She has to reunite with the Legion in order to capture Andras and finally get her mark.

In my opinion, Unbreakable had a better story. There was more action and different spirit encounters, as where in Unmarked it was just Andras. It wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be. The ending wasn’t satisfying, either. I didn’t like it compared to the first one, but I still anticipate the third book in the series.

2) Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

**SPOILERS!! Must have read House of Hades!**

Many of you know, Blood of Olympus came out in the fall, so I got to finish this exciting series, but I was also sad that it finally ended. It starts off with the continuation of the seven demigods’ quest to deliver the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood as a peace offering to stop the war against the Romans and the Greeks. They already have enough to worry about with Gaea, the earth goddess, on her way to the wreak havoc on the world.

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”

It’s time to end this intriguing series we all love.

**SPOILERS!! Must have read Blood of Olympus!**

For those who have finished this book, let’s reflect. I didn’t like the fact that Percy and Annabeth barely spoke throughout the whole book. They’re the main characters after all. Also, I wasn’t happy with the end of the book (and not just because of the fact that it ended). Gaea is supposed to be the all mighty, most powerful goddess, so I expected a full on fight with her that would maybe take up an entire chapter or two, not a fight that didn’t even last a chapter. The way she finally died was very simple and didn’t seem to take up much effort from the demigods. Another thing was how the demigods finally ended up. I’m happy for Percy and Annabeth, getting the ending they truly deserve, and Nico, meeting someone who loves him back, and Leo for keeping his promise and finding Calypso. It would’ve been nice to see exactly what happened like an Epilogue to show how they lived. I know the rest is for the readers to imagine, but that’s my opinion. Overall, the book was okay. I’m still upset, though, that one of my favorite series ended.

outsiders3) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

A couple of my friends have been telling me to read this book forever, and I kept putting it off, but when I finally did get to it, I couldn’t put it down. The story is set in the ’60s about Greasers and Socs. Greasers are considered the “low lives” in the neighborhood. They are kids who are usually not the brightest, form gangs, are poor, and distinguish themselves by styling their hair with grease. The Socs are the white boys who are rich and educated and love to beat up Greasers just for fun. The narrator, Ponyboy, shares the story of his life as a Greaser with his two brothers, Darry and Sodapop. Ponyboy is the youngest of the brothers, only 14, but he has seen more danger and destruction than one should see at his age. And of course, Johnny, Ponyboy’s best friend, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, as people say. All is normal and well enough between the two groups, until one member of a group kills someone of the other side.

This book was very interesting, showing a time when kids jumped others just to get a kick out of it, not even to steal. The book even describes a gang fight including maybe twenty members from each side, just to see who’s the best. I couldn’t believe the ending. It shocked me because it was so surprising I never saw it coming. It’s a great book, and I can see why it was my friends’ favorite.

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution involving reading or writing? Have you accomplished them? Are you making one for 2015? I think they’re great ways to keep on track. And as for these three books,  have you read them? If not, are you now interested to?

-Sabrina C., 9th grade

2013: My Top Five Reads

2013-readsHappy new year! I read some pretty interesting books last year. Some of them were not published in 2013, but I am going to write about them anyway.

These are my top five favorite books of 2013:

1Kami Garcia/Unbreakable. Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
I absolutely loved it because it’s a thriller about the paranormal. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an engaging book and a little scare. It is the first book of the Legion Series.

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I love this book because there are so many twists and unexpected scenes in the story. There is something for everyone: romance, action, and danger around every corner. This is the first book in its series, and after reading this one, I couldn’t wait to start the others.

3. The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
When I wrote my full review for this book, I said it is in my top ten favorites and it is. The Raft is a great book for people who love suspense. The book describes so much action and really brings the story to life.

insurgent_cover4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
It’s the second book of the Divergent series. Roth has a certain ability that makes the reader feel like they are in the story. When I read this book, it felt like I was in the story.

5. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
This is the third book of the Beautiful Creatures series. The love story still continues between Ethan and Lena, but their relationship is tested. The ending is one that I never saw coming. This book is great for romance and suspense lovers.

-Sabrina C., 8th grade

Book Review: Beautiful Darkness, by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

beautiful_darkness_coverEthan Wate and Lena Duchannes grew closer and closer in the first book in this series, Beautiful Creatures, when they tried to ward off evil spirits. After the horrifying night of Lena’s Sixteenth Moon, they are not looking forward to another battle. Unfortunately, they soon learn that Lena will have to face another Claiming, when a Caster decides to be Light or Dark.

They start to worry and try to find answers, but the Seventeenth Moon gets nearer and they start to give up. Just when things are bad enough, Lena starts to pull away. Ethan is angry, but more confused, when he sees her with another guy. He and his friends try to find Lena and save her from her depression, when she thinks she is going Dark. He tries to think positive. Maybe this isn’t the end for them, but maybe it is.

This is the second book of the Beautiful Creatures Saga. In this book, they meet some new friends and uncover some dangerous secrets. It was a really entertaining book. I couldn’t put it down. Every chance I got, I would read. The authors leave great cliffhangers at the end of chapters. I was really surprised at some parts. When the story ended, I was sad because it was so good. I’m happy there is another book in the series, though. I hope everyone else loves this book as much as I do.

-Sabrina C., 8th grade

Book Review: Unbreakable, by Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia/UnbreakableDo you believe in ghosts? Do they float around your room or take human form? Did you ever think they could hurt you? These are questions Kennedy Waters never thought she would ask herself, but that was before a spirit tried to kill her.

When Kennedy finds her mother dead in their own house, her future reveals itself. When her mother is pronounced dead of a heart attack, she is forced to go to a boarding school. She knows something is wrong. She thinks her mom was murdered, but she can’t prove it. Before she leaves, she wants to stay in her house for one last night. It holds all her memories, precious or not.

She soon finds it was a horrible mistake when identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room to kill an evil spirit sent to kill her. They tell her that her mom was part of an ancient secret society that protects our world from a vengeful demon. They also say the society’s five members were murdered on the same night.

Kennedy has to take her mom’s place in the society and join the Legion, if she wants to uncover the truth and survive. She meets new Legion members, Priest and Alara, on the way. The teens race to find the only weapon that can destroy the demon. With challenges along the way, they can only hope for the best.

Kami Garcia, co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series, has done it again. This book is an amazing thriller! I couldn’t put it down. I truly think it could be the next Hunger Games. It has everything: suspense, romance, and the paranormal! I would definitely want to see the movie. But because of some scary scenes, I would recommend this book for 12 and up. Look for Unbreakable in bookstores everywhere on October 1st.

-Sabrina C., 8th grade

Thank to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an advance readers’ copy of Unbreakable for review.

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

beautiful_creatures_coverSixteen-year-old Ethan Wate is a normal boy living in the same normal town he has lived in his whole life. All he has to worry about is getting to school on time and making sure Amma doesn’t get mad at him for not eating all his food. Recently, his mom died in an accident, and his dad shut himself up in a study, but that was really the only excitement Gatlin got. Well, that was true, until something not normal rolled up in a hearse on a not normal day.

Ethan Wate knows the story behind Macon Ravenwood; the horrible story that haunts people. He never thought that he would one day meet his niece or even the man himself, but he did. With that hearse, came a curse and a girl. Lena Duchannes is an almost sixteen-year-old caster. When she turns sixteen, she will either be Claimed by the Light or the Dark. She doesn’t know what will happen or how it happens, but when she moves to Gatlin, she soon figures it out with a little help from Ethan. Ethan saw her and knew she was the girl of his dreams, literally. He soon found out that when you fall in love with a caster, your world changes too.

Beautiful Creatures is an absolutely amazing book written by two incredible authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. They told a story of love and betrayal. It has many surprising secrets and a twist ending you will never see coming. I would definitely recommend this book to teens and young adults. I give this book a five-star rating!

-Sabrina C., 8th grade