Middle Grade Monday: Lost in the Sun

Welcome to a new feature that I'm creating called Middle Grade Monday! I'm not sure if I will be doing the feature weekly, but I will keep it updated because I plan on reading lots of MG books. I hope you enjoy!

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
Published: May 26th 2015 by Philomel
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Rating: 5 out of 5

Everyone says that middle school is awful, but Trent knows nothing could be worse than the year he had in fifth grade, when a freak accident on Cedar Lake left one kid dead, and Trent with a brain full of terrible thoughts he can't get rid of. Trent’s pretty positive the entire disaster was his fault, so for him middle school feels like a fresh start, a chance to prove to everyone that he's not the horrible screw-up they seem to think he is.
If only Trent could make that fresh start happen.
It isn’t until Trent gets caught up in the whirlwind that is Fallon Little—the girl with the mysterious scar across her face—that things begin to change. Because fresh starts aren’t always easy. Even in baseball, when a fly ball gets lost in the sun, you have to remember to shift your position to find it.

Lost in the Sun is about Trent who is guilt-riden from a hockey accident that has a fatal result. Not only does he have to work through the thought of "killing someone", his parents are also divorced and he is forced to keep up a good face while he regularly visits his father and his stepmom. And let me just say, they don't make things easy. Trent's father and stepmom infuriate me with their "support".

Trent enters sixth grade acting like a screw-up because he believes he deserves punishment for being a bad person. The story tells about how Trent heals with the help of Fallon, his brothers, his mom, and his teachers. The family dynamics (OTHER THAN THE DAD) is probably one of my favorite parts. Trent has two brothers Aaron and Doug. They are so important. Every time Trent talks his brothers my heart melts.

The person that helped him heal the most is a girl named Fallon who is weird in the best way. She is a strong character that I couldn't help rooting for because honestly she's a better person than me. Even though she is bullied, she remains calm because she sees no point in retaliating. I was baffled at how good she is. In her situation, I would've snapped but Fallon swallows down her rage and intently continues on as if nothing happened. It's not a story of romance but of the power of friendship. And let me just say, there is something really special about these two's friendship.

I cried multiple times because as childish as it was, it's not fair. I wholeheartedly supported Trent and it was hard watching how some people treated him. Even the adults! Even though I could understand and knew that some of the dad's reasoning made sense, I just wanted to scream because Trent doesn't deserve it. I was not prepared for this book.
ANOTHER THING. The writing isn't flowery but there are some lines that made me pause to appreciate it. To quote:
"There was something about Fallon, I'd noticed, that wasn't like what it seemed. Something sad. She was like Mom's coffee- it always smelled sweet, and then you took a sip and realized it was nothing but bitter."
I do believe that YA fans will enjoy this as much as I did. No romance but an amazing, funny story of accepting the past. It's so satisfying. The book is the companion book to Umbrella Summer, which is about the little sister of the boy who died. I did not read it first because I only found out about it after I finished this one, but my little sister read it and it has her approval. I suggest anyone who wants to read Lost in the Sun read the other book first just because it came out first.

Book Review: Descent

Descent by Katie O'Sullivan
Published: July 16th 2015 by Wicked Whale Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Format: eBook
Rating: 3 out of 5

Shea MacNamara's life just got complicated...
When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, fifteen-year-old Shea moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he's never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes his life forever.
Kae belongs to an undersea world hidden from drylanders, where bloody war rages between opposing clans. A fragile peace accord hinges on marriage between the royal families, but treachery and magick lurk in every shadow.
With Kae's help, Shea discovers his true heritage and finds that his destiny lies somewhere far below the ocean's surface.

To me, Descent was an enjoyable light read about mermaids. While it isn't a great book, it isn't bad either. I was able to read it quickly and easily. The most interesting part was the mermaid plot line, however, this only started getting serious at around 50% into the book. In my opinion, the book spent way too long talking about Shea's experience trying to fit into Cape Cod. If the book had focused more in the underwater events, it would've been more strong. The setting the author created for the mermaids was exciting and different from other mermaid books I've read. The mermaids had different clans and magical powers. It sparked my inner childhood wishes to be a mermaid (made me wish I could swim too). I liked learning about the mermaid life and would've liked to learn more about their farming and society. I liked how they included problems with marriage and race between the mermaids. It made them seem more real and not always the happy swimmers I usually them as. It had a small Percy Jackson feel with the trident tattoo showing up on mermaids that Poseidon chooses to rule the sea.

While romance did play a big part in the story, I felt like it wasn't strong enough for me to care about it. I could ignore the love story and focus on the mermaids. The romance between Shea and Kae wasn't believable. It was instant lust. There was no buildup to them falling in love, he was just hooked on to her (pun not intended) from the beginning because of her bikini. The first time they kissed made me cringe because I felt like they were only friends. I felt the fault here is more on the writing. The characters didn't seem real to me. Shea's name was a bit ridiculous (Shea MacNamara) and he and Kae were both bland.

One character I did love and found had a believable voice was Hailey. She was very bright and was bursting with energy. Her fast talking didn't seem tacky. However, she was only there to be used for a flimsy love triangle. She was completely irrelevant to the story. If the author had removed Hailey, the book would’ve been more concise and focused on the true story line.

While this book is YA, I felt like it was more middle grade. This book would be a good introduction for middle grade students into YA books. The writing isn't deep and rambled at some parts. It's very predictable. Though I was uneasy with the book and wasn't hooked until around 50% I didn't hate it. I would suggest this book to middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy.

Book Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published: December 10th 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Rating: 4 out of 5

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive -- alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

I. Love. This. Book. I was in awe after I finished reading it. This is such a mind blowing book and it is so beautiful. I don’t even know how to review this book appropriately because anything I say won’t do this book justice. It’s THAT good.

These Broken Stars is a sci-fi novel. Which I don’t read often. I admit what drew me in was the cover. It’s so pretty and I’m a sucker for anything with the galaxy and stars on it. And to keep this theme going, Kaufman and Spooner constantly made references to stars in their writing and IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. The writing is one of my favorite parts of the book, I had so many saved.  The last paragraph of the book took my breath away.

The book starts off in space (how cool is that??) aboard a big ship called Icarus, holding thousands of people. Unfortunately, Icarus gets a malfunction and crashes on an unknown planet. Living up to it's name I guess. It leaves only two survivors, Tarver and Lilac, who narrowly escaped death on an escape pod.  Tarver is an 18 year old war hero who has extensive survival training from being on duty. He is sarcastic, controlled, and SO genuine. I instantly fell in love with Tarver’s soldier charm. Now Lilac, I didn’t like at first. She’s the spoiled daughter of the richest guy in the universe. Used to the high class life she struggled to keep up with Tarver’s efforts to keep them alive and often threw fits in her head. But she’s strong and stubborn and refused to allow Tarver to see her weakness. As annoyed with her as I was, I wanted to give her a round of applause for trekking through the forest in heels for days. It took her a while, but her character development was pretty awesome as she accepted her situation and Tarver’s help. Watching her change wasn’t sudden. It was so gradual that I didn’t notice it until towards the end of the book.

THE ROMANCE. To me the love that grew between them was very gentle. One that none of them wanted to admit at first because of personal reasons... plus there was the part where they wanted to punch each other in the face for a good 90% of the time they were together in the beginning. The gradual way they fell in love was so simple it was wonderful.

The book switches between two perspectives. In between the actual story there was also snippets of an interrogation that confused me greatly in the beginning because I had no idea what was going on. I started to look forward to those snippets though because it was filled with sass from Tarver.

The plot is a bit slow in the beginning. Because Tarver and Lilac are the only survivors for 80% of the book, they are the only characters. There’s a lot of them walking around trying to survive before the problem actually arises. I don’t want to spoil what the problem is but DAAAAANG. IT WAS SO TRIPPY. There was this one part where basically “ish hit the fan” and it left me speechless. I dropped my phone and freaked out in my room. I didn’t know what to do with what just happened. I just sat on my bed and panicked. This book is CRAZY and SO unique. I guarantee that you won’t find a book like this one.

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK… if you haven’t already. Goodreads says I’m a little late to the club but oh well. What are some other YA sci-fi books you recommend?

Top Ten Books for Supernatural Creatures 101

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.
HELLOOO my first meme post! I am extremely excited to share this post because the idea of using dictionary definitions for the creatures, which you'll notice I wrote by myself. Honestly so proud of this. Took me forever though. With the typing and graphics... whew! If you're a blogger, how long do blog posts usually take you to finish?

This week's theme is: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101. I decided to go a bit easy and chose Supernatural Creatures.
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Fairy- (n.) a magical human-like creature with wings and has an annoying tendency to mess with human affairs. All I know is this is THE fairy book to read. It’s a nose-in-the-pages kinda book so reserve time because you won’t want to talk to anyone until you finish. Also the cover is super pretty and can we just take a moment to appreciate it?

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Vampire- (n.) a blood sucking dead person with beautifully chiseled abs that sparkle in the sun. Yes, I’m sorry I had to add Twilight because let’s be honest, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear vampires. Now I can’t remember what team I was obsessed with in middle school (that’s a lie, Team Jacob all the way) but I can remember how fascinating the side worlds Stephenie Meyer created was. I probably spent more time researching the werewolves and the Volturi than focusing on Edward and Bella. But as eye roll worthy as they are, I have to admit their love story is a good one.

Angelfall by Susan Ee
Angel- (n.) a celestial being with feathered wings who eventually got sick of humans and reigned terror. A book I’ve been afraid to start because of all the hype. Also, I know it’s going to be a dark read. I heard it’s known to stomp on your heart a few times (but what else is new am I right).

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne
Werewolf- (n.) a human who shape shift into a wolf either exclusively on full moons or at will. I don’t remember much about this series but I KNOW I was super obsessed with it. It’s extremely cheesy I know that and very predictable. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but it was SO fun to read for me. One of those look-across-the-room-and-our-eye-contact-results-in-sparks-and-wow-did-we-just-imprint stories but with a twist. Very cliche and guess what. I’M ALL FOR IT.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Ghost- (n.) the spirit of a dead person that haunts an area (usually where they died or WAS MURDERED) with unfinished business. My big sister read this book and was IN LOVE. Which is saying something because she is a picky reader. I have yet to read.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Witch/Wizard- (n.) a person who practices sorcery possibly for a duel to the death.  I love love love this cover. I searched all over Powell’s and Target to get this fancy cover (there's multiple versions). It’s beautiful. I admit I’m afraid to start reading this book because I’m already so in love with it from the cover (does this count as being vain?) and I’ve heard mixed reviews. From just the summary I am already excited for the magical world of The Night Circus.

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
Aliens- (n.) creature from outer space. Whatever the heck this guy is, I want in on it. Daniel is an alien... I think. He’s something. He can create things with his mind out of thin air. He usually likes to create his parents or his best friends so that he isn’t lonely, which breaks my heart. Daniel is in possession of The List, the names of the top most dangerous aliens in the universe. Out to find the one who murdered his family, he also takes the time to take out others to keep the universe safer. A one man Men in Black kinda deal. This is a light fun read, not for those who are looking for a deep story.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
INTRODUCING BADASS VAMPIRES. I know it’s cheating having another vampire book but these vampires are different! There are three different types of vampires here: Moroi (vampires with powers), Dhampir (Half vampire+half human=awesome guardians), and Strigoi (traditional immortal vampires who are evil). The result of all these vampires in one book? Epic.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Demon- (n.) an “extremely evil” fiend who in this case accidentally falls in love with an angel. Yes, it is as tragic as it seems and more heart-aching than you think. Did I mention this demon is an artistic, spunky gal with blue hair? One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Dragon- (n.) Scales, claws, fire breathing creatures who like to steal princesses away from their castles… Or if you’re Jacinda you’re the only draki who can breathe fire. Because of her rare trait, Jacinda escapes from her Pride and tries to live in the mortal world. Of course the universe can’t go easy on her and she runs into a hunter named Will, a dragon hunter who saves her life. Did I mention the bad boy draki Cassian who is waiting for her back at the Pride to marry him and have his special draki babies too? A very easy to read book and pure fantasy.

That is all! Sorry for the long post, I got really excited. What are some supernatural creatures that I missed and a book to pair with it?

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published: June 5th, 2012 by Crown
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Lately, I’ve been using an online library app. While reading Gone Girl, I couldn’t help but wish that I had the actual book in my hands because it’s one of those books you want to drop and scream “WHAT?” at every five pages. This book is the definition of plot twist. Every new chapter manipulated me only to have me turn the page and laugh at me when I believed its lie. I so wanted the satisfaction of throwing this book from how much it played me.

If I could only use one word to describe this book, it would be shady. Everyone is soo shady. You can trust no one in this book, not even the narrator! I’ve never read a book with an untrustworthy narrator before, but let me tell you it is tons of fun. The author utilized pathos beautifully, and toyed with my emotions so much to fool me. I could never tell where this book was going and couldn’t predict anything. The book is split into three sections. The introduction into each new section also delivered a punch into the readers face, because a new section meant a new game change.

The book switches between two narratives: Amy and Nick. Nick is accused of murdering Amy, his wife. I was very interested in Nick’s POV because his story was all over the place. The entire time you sit there thinking, either Nick sucks at being innocent or he sucks at pretending to be innocent because Nick is SHADY. For no literal reason sometimes. Nick’s POV kept me on edge as I questioned his innocence and his story.

Now Amy. Wow. Let me just say. I have never been more scared of a person before. Amy is a master at manipulation. The finesse and intelligence behind all of her actions left me in fear at the idea of a person like Amy could exist. I had to take a ten minute cool down with cat pictures to be able to go to sleep after this book. Amy and Nick together is just disruptive. They fell in love with who they each made each other. Together, they became “perfect” and could pretend to be someone else other than their true ugly selves. Together they became Fun Nick and Cool Amy. And then everything went downhill.

This book is a work of art. If you would like to read a book that makes you question everything and maybe make your neck hairs rise, this is your book.

Welcome to Booking an Adventure

Hello! My name is Diana and this is my blog: Booking an Adventure. I will be writing mainly about books and a little bit about my life.

I started reading books when I was in elementary school; but recently I've started writing reviews for books I've read on Goodreads. At the  moment, they're kind of gibberish. A fault because they're mostly written at 2AM when I'm slightly delirious and emotional from staying up late to finish the books. With the inspiration from my best friend Vy (Vysblog), I've decided to start a book blog with the goal of being able to create a more meaningful and sophisticated way of recording my thoughts. All my reviews will be honest (whether positive or negative). I hope that anyone who visits my blog will be able to understand my feelings of the books I've read and (a girl can hope) be encouraged to pick up the book as well. Thank you for stopping by!