Thursday, March 31, 2011

Numbers: The Chaos Winners

My giveaway for two copies of Numbers: The Chaos ended the other day and I just now realized I never chose winners, so I am doing that now.

The winners are Cade Crowley and Lexie. Congrats! I will email you later if you don't email me first.

And since it seems to be somewhat of a tradition for me to post my jam of the moment on giveaway winner posts, I will leave you with this:



I haven't listened to all of Angles yet but I do love this song.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Music

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

For today, a loose music theme!


Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. Two weeks before the most important violin competition of her career, she has bigger things to worry about—like growing out of that suffocating “child prodigy” label, and not disappointing her mother. But it isn’t just the wrong time. It’s the wrong guy. Jeremy is Carmen’s most talented rival, and according to her mother, he’s only interested in one thing: winning.

He isn’t the only one.

Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year ago as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she’s told.

When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen must choose between her career and her love for music.


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This sounds like it will be quite an original and intense story. I love stress stories-- I can relate (although I do not have any musical talent nor do I take meds).

Released October 18.

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I'm also waiting for the moment where I can listen to something other than this song:



It's amazing, and I love it, but it's literally the only song I've listened to during the past two days. I have to have reached more than 100 plays by now. I must resist my obsession.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal


[description from goodreads]

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?

Review:

I'm so conflicted about Other Words for Love. There are things I loved about it, things that annoyed me, things that I wanted more of, and things that I wished would go away. However, I know that if this book falls into the right hands, it will be loved intensely.

But, I'm not exactly sure who those right hands will belong to, so the best I can do in this review is tell you my thoughts on the book. The thing I like most about Other Words for Love is how it made me feel. Which sounds really cheesy, I know, but it's true. The book is written in such a laid-back, nostalgic style that I couldn't help but relax whenever I read it, even though it takes place in the often chaotic New York City and Ari often feels crazed herself. I also enjoyed seeing Ari trying to navigate her dramatic life, because even though it takes a few cliche characters to make her so, she is unbelievably easy to relate to. Her relationships with her family members, especially her mom and sister, are so strained and intense that it's hard not to relate to at least one aspect of their conflict. (However, I sympathized with Ari the most because we both freak out over school and the SATs.) Because I felt for her, I enjoyed seeing her overcome her many obstacles and find the place that she best fit. I absolutely loved where she left off, because I feel like it was unexpected, in terms of the endings of most YA novels, but so perfect.

However, most of the other characters left much to be desired, and therein lies my conflicted feelings about this book. Again, I adored reading about the relationship between Ari and her family, because family relationships are things I do not get to read about very often. I wish there was more of her family, because I think some of the most intense and emotional moments came from when Ari was with them. However, most of Ari's other relationships I was not a fan of. Her best friend, Summer, is obviously way more attractive and better than her, and I am so over those types of best friends. I know that it makes Ari more personable because in comparison she seems nicer and easier to sympathize with because Summer treats her so terribly, but I just can't deal with those types of characters anymore. Ari's relationship with Blake was more tolerable, but they fell in love so quickly that I had trouble believing it. I like where they ultimately ended up, but Ari made so many frustrating choices on the way there and described him as if he was so perfect that I couldn't help but be annoyed.

Other Words for Love had some elements I adored, but the ones I didn't like were so overwhelming that they've kind of clouded my judgment. Perhaps those who are not as annoyed by Hot Best Friends and Love at (Practically) First Sight will enjoy it more?

Book details: Delacorte/Hardcover/$17.99

Source: ALA

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Shut Up Sometimes

Recently, there has been some discussion on twitter and around the blogosphere about whether or not book bloggers help sell books or are an effective promotional tool for authors or whatever. Kristi of The Story Siren posted an interview with an unnamed author about the subject, and I thought I'd post about why I normally stay out of these kinds of discussions.

I avoid this topic in particular because no matter what anyone else comes up with in regards to whether or not bloggers sell books, I'm not really going to change my blog. I didn't start my blog to help sell books, or get review copies, but because I wanted to talk about books.

Authors, publishers, and other bloggers can talk about the effectiveness of blogs all they want, but when it comes down to it, I'm still blogging because I want to. If an author or publisher offers me a book for review because they think I may help sell a book, I'm more than happy to accept. It's nice to know they think I might be helpful. But, if they don't offer me books, that's cool too. I blogged for a year when I only received a review book every two weeks or so, and I could do it again if I wanted.

Is getting books in the mail a perk? Yes. Is helping to sell a book a perk? Yes. I love knowing that someone gave a book I love a shot, whether it's because they read only my review or mine and someone else's. But, even if no one told me that he or she picked up a book because of my review, I'd still be posting about the books I read. I like writing my thoughts down. I remember things better that way. I like seeing if someone else has read a book, so we can discuss it. It doesn't matter if that person read it because of my review or not-- I just want to talk about it.

After this post, I'm probably going to stay completely out of the discussion about the effectiveness of blogs, because all I know is that I blog because I like to. It may seem lazy for me to let everyone else talk about this, but I don't care. I've got better things to worry about. I'm just going to keep doing my thing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Descriptions and such from goodreads!

This week, I bought:

When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

I have heard most excellent things about this one, so I could not resist buying it when I ventured into B&N earlier this week.

From Sarah, I got:

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But som
e girls are addictive....

Not your typical beach read.
I've heard of people either loving or hating this one, so we'll see how it goes!

And, for review I got:

Stay by Deb Caletti

Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

I've heard great things about Deb Caletti's previous books, but I've never actually read one. However, I've been meaning to, and this one sounds like a good one to start with.

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...

NEW ELIZABETH SCOTT!!!! I love her books so much and being able to read a new one is always a treat.


Dead Rules by Randy Russell
Sometimes falling in love means you have to kill somebody.

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were destined to be together forever. Of that, Jana was sure.

But Jana just died—in a bowling accident. And now she’s trapped in Dead School. Jana is certain that it won’t be long before Michael kills himself in order to spend eternity with her—but the days are passing and Michael is, inexplicably, still alive. So Jana decides to take matters into her own hands. And nothing—not even Dead School bad boy Mars Dreamcote’s enticingly warm touch or the devastating secret he holds about her death—will stop her from making her dreams come true.

Romeo and Juliet meets Heathers in this hilariously macabre take on paranormal romance, packed with heart-stopping suspense and sizzling star-crossed love.
A comparison to Heathers is enough to make me read any book, but I would have picked this one up even without the comparison because it sounds ridiculously awesome. Love the first line of the summary.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quotes!

I was catching up on my google reader this morning and saw that my buddy Sarah from Sarah's Random Musings posted one of her favorite quotes as part of the new "Quote Love" meme from Midnight Twilight's Book Blog.

Because I am somewhat of a quote fiend, I could not resist posting a few of my own favorite quotes today:

“The heart is not a size, Sophie said; and I knew she was right—that there was no measure for the people we were becoming, no limit to what we might become.”
The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart's books have some of the best writing, hands down. Love.

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ambiguity, n.: When you say, “I couldn’t love you more,” does that mean that the love’s hit infinity, or just that it’s reached its limit?

- @loversdiction twitter (which is like an extension of the novel The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan)
David Levithan is my favorite author, @loversdiction is my favorite twitter account to follow, and this is my favorite entry he has posted.

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"I want your updates, Ruby."
- Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart

I don't want to tell you who says this, because it is a spoiler if you haven't read the series (which you should). However, if you've read the book, you will hopefully remember this moment. UGH BEST MOMENT.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys


[description from goodreads]

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Review:

I cannot get enough historical fiction, especially when the historical novel I'm reading is set in the era my history class is discussing and I can convince myself that reading it counts as studying.* However, I love historical novels even more when they teach me things my history book doesn't.

Between Shades of Gray starts off with a bang and doesn't stop from there. It's hard to discuss this book without giving anything away, because even though its events are shocking in a most uncomfortable way, the best way to read about them is with no prior knowledge of what is going on. That way, they still manage to have most of their shock factor, even though they still would have been a surprise to read about, if you're like me and didn't know anything about them beforehand. The horrible, and even the good, things that happen to Lina and her family were all a surprise, because even though I've read quite a few WWII set novels, I haven't read one like this. I had no idea about the state of the Baltics during the war, and had I not read this novel, I would still be in the dark. All that any of my history textbooks have ever mentioned about the Baltic countries are that they were taken over by Russia in whatever year**, and that's it. Because it was all new to me, I found it morbidly fascinating to read, even though the vast majority of moments were completely heartbreaking.

However, this book is much more than just a history lesson. It's packed with emotion, largely due to the writing. Lina tends to write her story using as few words as possible, making the most emotional sentences and scenes all the more powerful. I also loved the short snippets from before Lina and her family were taken away; each small excerpt brought new information about why they were shipped off, how the situation in the country worsened, and how much Lina's parents cared for her and her brother. It was largely thanks to these excerpts, and other stories of the past, that I understood some of the characters' quirks and personalities, because every so often the characters seemed so one-note because of their situation and depression, but at least they had an excuse to seem a bit monotone.

As you may be able to tell from this rather jumbled review, I have difficulty articulating my feelings about Between Shades of Gray, because it is one heck of a book. Just know that it's powerful, haunting, and yet ultimately beautiful, hopeful, and worth every tear you may shed over it.

*Who cares that I'm in U.S. history and this book is not set in the U.S.? Surely not I.
**Maybe I should go find that year, considering I have a WWII test tomorrow.

Book details: Philomel/Hardcover/$17.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ruta Sepetys Interview + Giveaway


Today, I'm super excited to share an interview with Ruta Sepetys, the author of the heartbreaking and powerful Between Shades of Gray. And because I suck at summarizing things, especially things that I like, here is the book description for you, straight from goodreads:

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

You can read my review of the book tomorrow, but for now, you can read this totally awesome interview with the author:

1) During your research in Lithuania, is there one place that really stood out for you, whether it became a part of Between Shades of Gray or not?

Yes, the former KGB headquarters. Prior to visiting, a woman told me that in the 1940’s her grandmother was arrested and taken to KGB headquarters for interrogation. She was so traumatized that her nose began to bleed. They allowed her to go to the bathroom. She jumped out of a third story window instead. I was so emotional when I visited the building, knowing the intense fear that poor woman had felt.

One of the interrogation rooms at the former KGB headquarters.

Wow, that's intense.

2) Lina mentions the artist Edvard Munch numerous times throughout the novel. Was he always her favorite artist or did you consider a few before settling on him? And, do you have a favorite work of his? (Sidenote: for those of you who have no idea who Edvard Munch is, like I did before I read the book, he painted "The Scream," which you may have seen before.)

Absolutely. I knew from the start that Edvard Munch would be Lina’s muse. Munch painted on themes of love, anxiety, death, and despair, all with the singular reflection, “Why am I not as others are?” I once read that Munch said, “We should no longer paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. We should paint living people who breathe, feel, suffer and love.” He wanted to paint truth and that’s exactly how I imagined the character of Lina would feel. One of my favorites is Munch’s lithograph of “Attraction.” A little secret trivia – the titles of over 30 Munch paintings are represented in the novel.

“Attraction” by Edvard Munch

“When our eyes met, invisible hands tied delicate threads which went through your great eyes, in through my eyes, and bound our hearts together.”

- “The Literary Diaries of Edvard Munch"
Thirty, you say? I will have to go back to the novel and find some because I am loving "Attraction."

3) A couple of the works of Charles Dickens are also featured in the novel-- did you choose Dickens for any particular reason? Because you're a fan yourself or his works would have been accessible in the era the book takes place in (well, not easily accessible, but, you know, around) or...?


One of the incredible survivors I met with told me that someone smuggled a Russian version of “Dombey and Son” into the labor camp and that she learned to speak Russian by studying that novel. I included “Dombey and Son” as a tribute to her.

4) Music is not featured in Between Shades of Gray, but on your website you cite it as an inspiration, and it kind of goes with the ~artsy theme of the last two questions, so let's talk music! Any favorite songs/bands/artists/etc. as of late?

Yes! Let’s talk music! Hans Christian Andersen said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” It’s so true. I’ve been fortunate to work in the music business for twenty years and when I love a song I am fulfilled in an indescribable way. I’ve loved The Civil Wars for a long time now and I’m so happy that they’re blowing up.

Between Shades of Gray definitely calls for music on the melancholy side. I contacted one of my favorite recording artists, Gavin Mikhail, and asked him to create a piano soundtrack for the book. It was such fun! We chose certain characters and scenes and Gavin composed music around them. We’ve printed download cards (sort of like a Starbucks download card). They have a code on the back that allows you to download the album for free from my site. You can hear a preview of the soundtrack here: http://www.gavinmikhail.com/soundtrack

The download cards look like this:
That's awesome! I will definitely be listening when I find some time this weekend.

5) During my examination of your website, I also found that you went to school in France! I've been a bit of a French mood ever since I read Anna and the French Kiss (sidenote: have you read Anna? If not, you should.) so I must ask: do you have any French stories/experiences to share? Favorite part about the country?

Yes, I read Anna and the French Kiss and I adored it!

And oh, how I loved living in France! In terms of favorite experiences, I have very fond memories of long, late dinners with friends that turned into small gatherings until the wee hours of the morning. Walking home at 4:30 a.m., I would go to the back door of the patisserie in my neighborhood and chat with the owner, Laurent, as he was baking croissants and baguettes. I’d then walk back to my apartment with a sack of warm chocolate croissants and watch the sunrise. Heaven!


(Side note to Khy – Laurent who owned the patisserie looked just like a French version of Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights! Just to give you a visual. ☺ )

Thank you so much for these fantastic questions and for having me here at Frenetic Reader! I’ve listed my links below. I will soon be visiting various bookstores and would love to meet your readers.

www.rutasepetys.com
www.betweenshadesofgray.com
www.facebook.com/rutasepetys

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MATT SARACEN LOOKALIKE? Excuse me while I fly to France.

Thanks so much, Ruta!

Hope you enjoyed the interview, everyone! And if you live near Omaha, NE; Lemont, IL; Oakland, CA; or Ann Arbor, MI; be sure to check out Ruta's website for details about the upcoming events she mentioned!

And, Penguin, Ruta's publisher, was awesome enough to let me host a giveaway! Details are all on the form.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: my love

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from amazon.

Today I'm desperate for:

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.

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OH MY I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE DESPITE ITS HIPSTER COVER. (Seriously, put a cheesy, depressing statement on it and it will get 1,000 notes on tumblr.) David Levithan is only my most favorite author ever and this book sounds it will be so freaking intense and unlike any of David's other works. Ugh need need need.

Released September 13.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

[description from goodreads]

Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....

Review:

The short length and even shorter summary of Miles From Ordinary make it appear very unassuming (at least it did for me) but it manages to pack quite a punch despite its brevity.

It's best to say as little as possible about the plot of Miles From Ordinary, because otherwise, the intensity may be ruined. It's also difficult to discuss the plot because for a while, there isn't really one. The one day in which the book takes place does not take a downturn until at least one third of the book is over; I often found myself a bit bored with Lacey's wanderings in the beginning. However, things quickly turn chaotic, and the rest of the book is well worth the time it spent getting there. As Lacey tries to help her mother, she reveals stories all about their past. Most of the stories contain secrets and issues revolving around her mother's mental illness, and each story, whether it be about how her mother's illness grew worse or affected the people around her, brings Lacey and her relationship to life. It's easy to see the special, slightly twisted but still loving relationship they have, but it's also easy to see the tension and frustration between the two. I loved reading about their relationship, especially near the end, when the tension finally erupts in a shockingly intense and even frightening scene that I wish I could discuss more, but I'll let you read it for yourself, should you choose to do so.

What prevented me from completely loving Miles from Ordinary was not only the slow beginning, but also the two-dimensional personalities of the the minor characters. There are very few other characters, yes, but they were so flat that it bothered me immensely. They also always seemed like they were going to be used more, particularly the character of one of Lacey's friends from school, but they never were.

Once Miles From Ordinary gets going, it really gets going. Despite its flat characters, it's intense, powerful, and emotional.

Book details: St. Martin's Griffin/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent for review by Teen Voices

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why I dislike the new B&N organization

If you've been in a Barnes and Noble recently, you may have noticed that they changed the YA section so that it is now organized by genre. And by "organized by genre," I mean there is not a "Teen Paranormal Romance" and then everything else goes in another section. (There's an old article about it in Publisher's Weekly).

It happened a while ago but I saw it for the first time yesterday, and I wasn't a big fan. There are many reasons I dislike it, but these are the main ones:

- The books in the "teen paranormal romance" are not even all paranormal. Maybe the world defines "paranormal" differently than I do, but I don't think, say, Across the Universe (a sci-fi semi-dystopian novel that is set on a spaceship) belongs there.

- "Teen paranormal romance" just sounds really, really lame. Like, not even I want to be seen in that section.

- This is more an opinion of personal taste, but looking at the paranormal section depresses me because everything looks the same. Yes, more books are displayed, but they all blend together for me. So much black and blue.

- Also a more personal one, but all the non-paranormal stuff at my B&N is on a wall that is invisible unless you purposely walk around the corner to it. The paranormal section is right where you leave the escalator, and to get anywhere else you have to walk by it. I am saddened that all my favorites (Anna and the French Kiss, for example) are invisible.

- I blame the new reorganization for the fact that I saw this cover for the first time:


I've seen some bad covers in my life, but any cover that makes Chris Pine look bad is truly atrocious.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Descriptions and such from goodreads!

I thought I was going to receive nothing this week, but on Thursday I came home to a few lovely review packages that included:

Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan

Purple Daze is a young adult novel set in suburban Los Angeles in 1965. Six high school students share their experiences and feelings in interconnected free verse and traditional poems about war, feminism, riots, love, racism, rock 'n' roll, high school, and friendship.

Although there have been verse novels published recently, none explore the changing and volatile 1960's in America— a time when young people drove a cultural and political revolution. With themes like the costs and casualties of war, the consequences of sex, and the complex relationships between teens, their peers, and their parents, this story is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

Historical + verse = happy me.


Hourglass by Myra McEntire
One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t
there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

I'm on a paranormal break, but I could not resist this one. Phantoms!


My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff
High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix.

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

I thought Zadoff's first novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have, was hilariously awesome and expect this one will be the same!


Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley

When seventeen-year-old Jane gets kicked out of boarding school (again) and returns to her small town of Bienville, Alabama, she is certain of three things: Her grandmother will be happy to see her. She will be the subject of the town's gossip mill. And there are some people she will have to avoid. But she doesn't expect that those very things will land her smack in the middle of the Bienville's most illustrious event: the Magnolia Maid achievement pageant.

This one sounds like it shall be absolutely hysterical. I cannot wait.


Ask Elizabeth by Elizabeth Berkley

Their parents might recognize Elizabeth Berkley as one of the stars of television's Saved by the Bell, but teenage girls know her as the helpful moderator of the Ask-Elizabeth advice website. Ask Elizabeth the book utilizes her accrued wisdom to dispense supportive counsel on topics including, but not limited to, self-esteem, menstruation, peer pressure, adjusting to new situations, and hanging out with boys.

I had never heard of this book before it showed up randomly in the mail, and I am still not sure exactly what it is. All I know is that there is a blurb from Fergie on the back and my copy smells like an old library (in a good way).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

5 Happy Things


1. Sea by Heidi R. Kling was one of my favorite books of 2010, and if you buy the book this month and let the author know, she will donate 20% of the book's sale to relief for Japan. It's a great idea, and you should totally participate! Find out more details over at Heidi's tumblr.

2. Shannon Hale is an awesome author, and her novel The Goose Girl is available for $1.99 as an e-book this month. (On Kindle, Nook, and probably other places.) I love that book and its sequels, so obviously I think you should buy the book, especially since it is quite cheap for all of you with an e-reader. It's very fairy tale-y and magic-y and just all around lovely.

3. I have a four day weekend this weekend (thank goodness) so I have been able to spend my procrastination time browsing the internet, catching up on sites I hardly ever get a chance to visit, including inkpop. From my inkpop stalking, I have found there is a live chat with Lauren Oliver tomorrow, which is sounds fun and like something I will be lurking instead of doing my homework. And it reminds me that I still need to read Delirium. Have you read it? Thoughts?

4. I love when authors I love make it on to the New York Times bestseller list, so I thought I'd give a big HOORAY! for Rachel Hawkins and Demonglass, who are on the list for the second week in a row! Get it, girl.~

5. The paperback cover for The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway was posted yesterday, and it's super cute! Just as exciting as the reveal of the adorable new cover was the reveal of the back of the book, which now contains blurbs from bloggers, including one on the bottom right you may recognize:

(:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

[description from goodreads]

Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school. But is being a doctor what she wants? It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her? Set in the 1980s.

Review:

This book is like my life story, minus the public speaking skills, insane mother, abuse, and Chinese. And most other things, but that's alright, because it's the feelings that matter.

Frances does not always go in depth regarding her feelings about certain issues, but it's still easy to see how her mother's words and pressure affects her. Whenever her mother yells at her, or her peers achieve a higher score, or she is ignored by her Potential Boy, she reacts in a way that is probably more effective than an internal monologue ever would be. Her "show don't tell" attitude made her narration a bit more impersonal but allowed for her to be totally believable, because I was able to see her in her ~natural state. Less successful was the "show don't tell" bit in terms of the other characters; while it did allow me to see how everyone truly acted, I felt like I was missing key information about each person's past that would allow me to understand some of their choices. There were informative reveals about characters' pasts throughout the novel, but I was still sad to miss some of their development earlier on.

However, the lack of minor character development was not all bad because each of them still brought about a change in Frances that motivated her to make choices she would not have otherwise. As she becomes more involved in the speech world, everything around her seems to intensify. She grows in strength and willpower and starts to take more risks. With each risk (or lie) she tells, something exciting happens. There is never a dull moment in this book, whether those moments are heartbreaking or worthy of a cheer.

Bitter Melon suffered from a lack development of most minor characters, but the intense emotion and Frances herself more than made up for it.

Book details: EgmontUSA/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Thursday, March 17, 2011

5 Books Hollywood Should Fight Over

Lately, the internet has been full of articles discussing the casting of The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments series. (But mostly The Hunger Games, since the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was announced this morning, much to my chagrin. I was firmly on Team Saoirse Ronan for Katniss, but alas.) (For a roundup of some of those articles and news of other YA book-to-movies, check out Green Bean Teen Queen's YA Movie News feature.) Those books are good and a movie of either of them will be exciting, but I can't help but wish that Hollywood would fight over some other books, such as:

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Maybe I am biased because I hardcore fangirl this book, but I think Anna would make an awesome movie. Seeing Anna's adventures would be so lovely, especially in a place as pretty as Paris. And, if this book got made in to a movie, I would have an actual St. Clair to obsess over.

2. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

There was a time where a movie version of this amazing book was maybe going to happen, but then it was squashed and my heart was crushed with it. A movie version of this book would be GORGEOUS. The clothes, the realms, the Kartik people! There would be so much pretty!

3. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I am always in desperate need of ~teen movie~ to watch* and this book could totally be that movie! It is insanely fun and adventure-y and romance-y and so many other things that would make it a hilarious movie. Plus, I love the adaptation of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, based on the book by the same authors as Dash and Lily, even though I will forever wish that Michael Cera was not cast as Nick.

4. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Mostly because this would be the prettiest movie ever, probably surpassing A Great and Terrible Beauty in beauty if they ever both were adapted to film. However, this series would probably fit better in a television series, but I can still hope for a big-costume-budget-movie.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This one is really only on the list because I don't understand how it hasn't been made into a movie yet. It's on the New York Times bestseller list practically every week, everyone loves it, and yet Hollywood has not grabbed it. It would be difficult to adapt because of the narration style and because it's historical, but still, how has it not been made yet? Hmm.

*Sidenote: GUYS WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ~TEEN MOVIES? I am a fan of Mean Girls (of course), 10 Things I Hate About You, Rebel Without a Cause (it appeals to the angst in me), The Outsiders, and my heart belongs to Heathers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Hell

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

While reading the description of this book over at YA Bliss, I could not help but gasp in horror. I could not resist sharing it with you.


All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

From the author of the critically acclaimed Elsewhere comes this brilliant novel about an impossible romance, a family living outside of the law, and the ties that forever bind us.

Chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is increasingly scarce, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine—going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until someone in her inner circle ends up poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight—at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafiya family.

Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I’ve Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and fantastic.


---

Guys, I don't think the world of The Hunger Games has anything on this book. I mean, no chocolate? WHY? That sounds like hell to me. But least this book has CRIME, which always makes for an excellent read.

Released September 27.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Num8ers: The Chaos Giveaway


Thanks to the lovely C. at Big Honcho Media, I'm giving away two copies of Num8ers: The Chaos by Rachel Ward.

The Chaos is a sequel to Num8ers, but no worries about spoilers in the summary, because this installment takes place well after the book one:
When he was a little boy, Adam learned about the numbers. The first ones he saw were Jem’s. That was how he knew she was going to die. Adam has more than inherited his mother's curse: When he looks in someone's eyes, he not only sees the date of their death...he feels the searing, shocking pain of it. Since Jem died, Adam has lived by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But when rising tides flood the coast, they return to London. The city is an alien, exciting, frightening place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can't help but clock how many people's numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year's Day. What chaos awaits the world? Can he and Sarah stop a catastrophe? Or are they, too, counted among the "twenty-sevens"?
For more about the book, check out the series website.

Or, watch the trailer:



Fill out the form to enter! Ends March 29.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

[description from goodreads]

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

Review:

I've been waiting to read The Iron Witch for months, and now that I've finally had the opportunity to read it, I want more. Both because I liked it, and because I think that nearly every aspect of the book could benefit from more development.

The thing that most bothered me about The Iron Witch is really something that could not have been prevented. Navin is not taken until well over halfway through the book, but there is really no way to summarize this book without mentioning his abduction because it would sound totally boring otherwise. Because there is so much time spent before any the true action, I was anxious the entire first half, waiting for excitement because the budding romance between Donna and Xan did not really capture my attention. I appreciated that they were not ~so in lurve~ from the get-go, but I've been so over romance in books lately that it needs to be truly spectacular to capture my attention. Luckily, once Navin is taken, the book picks up speed, sometimes so much speed that it is a bit too fast. The end is far more exciting, and the characters encounter all sorts of new creatures and secrets in the time they attempt to get Navin back. There are so many new details and hardly any of them get the attention I think they deserve, which is why I am hoping that this book's sequel will touch on them, because they are truly fascinating.

Likewise, I think the characters in this novel deserved a bit more attention. I at the very least liked Donna and enjoyed reading the excerpts of her journal occasionally more than I enjoyed reading the narration, even though no one would ever write a journal in the detailed manner she did. I liked seeing her friendship with Navin, even though the moments between them were relatively few and Navin therefore did not seem all that believable. Still, it was easy to spot the connection between them and realize why she cared so deeply about him. Her connections with the other characters were a bit more difficult to recognize because of how little page time they all receive. I really wanted to know more about Maker and the other alchemists because the alchemy is really what separates this book from other fae novels, and yet it gets hardly any attention. I would take the alchemy-- or even more elves, because they were supposed to be so menacing but I didn't really see why-- over Xan any day, because while he has a very intriguing back story, love interests kind of bore me.

The Iron Witch could have greatly benefited from more development and more excitement near the beginning, but I think there is room for ten times as much awesome in the sequel. Still, this installment of the series has lovely writing and a super action-packed end. I think those who like romance more than I do will find more enjoyment in the beginning, and therefore more enjoyment in the entire book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and look forward to The Wood Queen.

Book details: Flux/Paperback/$9.95

Source: sent by publisher for review


Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Descriptions and such from goodreads!

I got a few things for review this week, which is always exciting.

The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black by Eden Unger Bowditch

In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world's most important scientists, went about their lives and their work as they always had.

But all that changed the day the men in black arrived.

They arrived to take twelve-year-old Jasper Modest and his six-year-old sister, Lucy he with his remarkable creations and she with her perfect memory from their London, England home to a place across the ocean they'd never seen before.

They arrived to take nine-year-old Wallace Banneker, last in a long line of Africa-descended scientists, from his chemistry, his father, and his New York home to a life he d never imagined.

Twelve-year-old Noah Canto-Sagas, already missing his world-famous and beloved mother, was taken from Toronto, Canada, carrying only his clothes, his violin, and his remarkable mind.

And thirteen-year-old Faye Vigyanveta, the genius daughter of India's wealthiest and most accomplished scientists, was removed by force from her life of luxury.

From all across the world, they've been taken to mysterious Sole Manner Farm, and a beautiful but isolated schoolhouse in Dayton, Ohio, without a word from their parents as to why. Not even the wonderful schoolteacher they find there, Miss Brett, can explain it. She can give them love and care, but she can t give them answers.

Things only get stranger from there. What is the book with no pages Jasper and Lucy find in their mother's underwear drawer, and why do the men in black want it so badly?

How is it all the children have been taught the same bizarre poem and yet no other rhymes or stories their entire lives?

And why haven't their parents tried to contact them?

Whatever the reasons, to brash, impetuous Faye, the situation is clear: They and their parents have been kidnapped by these terrible men in black, and the only way they're going to escape and rescue their parents is by completing the invention they didn't even know they were all working on an invention that will change the world forever.

But what if the men in black aren't trying to harm the children? What if they're trying to protect them?

And if they're trying to protect them, from what?

An amazing story about the wonders of science and the still greater wonders of friendship, The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Mysterious Men in Black , the first book of the Young Inventors Guild trilogy, is a truly original novel. Young readers will forever treasure Eden Unger Bowditch's funny, inventive, poignant, and wonderfully fun fiction debut.

Wow that's a long summary. It sounds rather original and it makes me want to sing the Men in Black theme song, so I'm sure it will be lovely.

I also got White Cat by Holly Black:
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

This book came in a shiny red package with the sequel, Red Glove. I would show you a picture of the shinyness but I am still half asleep so who knows how a picture would turn out. I've heard about White Cat ever since it was first released and am so glad I can FINALLY read it.

On an unrelated note, you should go visit Shooting Stars Mag, where Lauren is giving away things related to one of my favorite books, Ballads of Suburbia. DO IT.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things YA Novels Have and Have Not Prepared Me For

1. Have not: the SAT. Surprisingly, I have only heard of/read one novel about the SAT: The Taker by J.M. Steele. You would think there would be more out there in the world that I could have read before today to send myself into a panic, but no, I had to rely only on myself to freak out about the SAT.

(Except it really wasn't as bad as I anticipated.)

2. Have: What to do if a supernatural creature is in my biology class. This didn't happen freshman year, or this year, but if we get a random transfer student in the class before June, I'll know what to do.

3. Have not: college talk. Do book characters even go to college? They never mention it, unless they have a parent who went to some fancy schmansy Ivy League school. It's definitely something a character could skip discussing because EVERYONE IN THE WORLD asks about it. (Don't ask me! I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING! I just figured out what I'm taking next year, I can't think much farther ahead.) How confusing.

4. Have: The apocalypse, no matters how it arrives. Hunger Games? Zombie takeover? Giant maze? Required plastic surgery? Bring it.

5. Have not: how to write a list of five. You would think my many readings of the Ruby Oliver series would have made me a list expert, but apparently not.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lahv lahv lahv

My love for the novel Anna and the French Kiss knows no bounds. I still have not reviewed it officially (I have a reason. A secret reason) on this blog but I spent nearly all of the end of the last year fangirling it. Which is why I am omgsoexcited for Stephanie Perkins upcoming novel Lola and the Boy Next Door. The cover of the upcoming book was just released:

I like it so much more than the Anna cover, and not only because there is a boy on it. The colors are so happy and bright and yay! And I can't help but think of Lost in Translation whenever I see it:It's the whole wig thing, obviously. And I think my association of the Lola cover with Lost in Translation because Anna of Anna and the French Kiss adores that movie! (As do I.)

UGH I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE. It's the only reason I am looking forward to September and I think I'll need it go get through that month, since it will be college apps time and whatnot. Eek.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winners + randomosity

I realized that not only had I not posted today, but also that I had not posted the winners of my doubles giveaway. I've been much too forgetful lately, but I should be back to normal now that I've figured out my senior year schedule and now that the SAT will soon be over (I'm taking it on Saturday, eek).

Anyway, the winners:

What Happened to Goodbye? - Pov
Where She Went - Amber K
Imaginary Girls - April X
Wither - Katie J

Congrats, all! I will email you all either tomorrow or Saturday if you do not email me first.

In unrelated news, this song has been my JAM since The Glitter Pox posted about it:



It is very chair-dance worthy.

And now, I'm off to do homework and maybe study for the SAT (haha, oh my optimism). Have a nice day, everyone!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Sadtimes

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

Today I'm waiting on:
Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert

A poetic, moving story about a teen who must make an unimaginable choice.

Mama has slowly been losing herself to MS. After traditional treatment fails, she takes bee sting therapy, administered by Lily, to alleviate her pain. Lily is trained as a veterinary assistant, so she can easily handle the treatments. What she can't handle is what happens when the bee sting therapy fails and it becomes clear that Mama wants to die.

One beautiful summer day, Lily's mother asks her for the most impossible thing of all—mercy. They live in Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act allows a patient to make the decision to end their own life.

While navigating first love, friendship, and the other normal worries faced by high school sophomores, Lily also has to choose: grant Mama's request, or cling to Mama's fading life for all it's worth
.

---

This sounds like it is going to be so wonderfully depressing and intense. I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

Released October 11.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt


[description from goodreads]

According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object—an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas—it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking—er, focusing on—Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

Review:

I had heard nothing but good things prior to beginning Sean Griswold's Head, and yet when I looked over the summary again I was a bit wary. I mean, it sounded promising, but the whole "first love" thing kind of threw me off because how could the two characters possibly fall in love in such a short novel? I hate when characters say they love each other after knowing each other for only a short while. Luckily, though, the whole "love" thing was kind of just for purposes of the summary and was not present in the book. There is a delightful romance, but it is a perfectly paced and fantastically realistic one.

There are so many positive things I could say about Sean Griswold's Head, but the most stand-out quality is definitely Payton, the wonderful narrator. She immediately appears to be a bit overbearing because of her mad organizational skills, but it is quickly apparent that even in her many stupid moments, she is endearing and hilarious. I can't help but love her, because I feel like we would be friends if we ever found ourselves in each others' worlds. We both dislike the effect biology has on our GPA, we both don't like things being hidden from us, we both enjoy sarcastic humor, and we both have issues dealing with big problems. We are practically friend soulmates, so of course I am going to enjoy whatever story she tells.

But even if we weren't friend soulmates, I think I would have enjoyed the novel. The book starts off rather quickly and doesn't stop from there. Payton's Sean-stalking adventures were utterly hilarious, especially when her friend, Jac, is involved. They get into all sorts of shenanigans and I loved every minute of it, mainly because as she follows Sean, more secrets about him are revealed, each which make him completely swoon-worthy and sweet. I also loved seeing Payton try to balance her new relationship with Sean and her conflicted feelings about her family. I wish I knew more about her family because they had such a profound effect on her, but I enjoyed every bit of what I was given. I totally understood Payton's hurt feelings about her father's disease and confusion about how to go about dealing with it, and I loved the resolution regarding it near the end.

Oh how I adore Sean Griswold's Head. The only thing preventing me from love-loving it was the fact that I would have loved more family development, but otherwise, this book is totally awesome.

Book details: Bloomsbury/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: ALA

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor


[description from goodreads]

Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing.

When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?

Review:

My interest in The Darlings Are Forever was based almost solely on the fact that it involves friendship. I am always eager to read about characters with more than one friend, and this book was absolutely perfect for that.

Based on the summary, The Darlings Are Forever sounds very young. I mean, would anyone over the age of 12 refer to their friends as darlings? Not really. And while the girls are young and the book will probably be enjoyed more by the younger YA crowd, the book itself deals with plenty of "older" issues. Each of the girls have to deal with problems outside their friendship-- Jane is trying out for the school play and has a crush on her teacher, Natalya is trying to fit in to her new "smart kid" school and figure out if her new friends there are worth it, and Victoria is trying to deal with her dad's political campaign, among other problems. Each of the girls problems are so varied and different that there is never a dull moment in the book, thanks to the constant point-of-view switch, but occasionally I wished there were more about some of their issues included. For example, Victoria feels she's living in the shadows of her sister, but her sister doesn't appear all that often, so it was hard for me to figure out why anyone would like her and her seemingly obnoxious self. However, I think the less developed subplots were alright compared to the bigger story lines that were so were woven together so well.

Because of the third person narration, I often felt a bit of a disconnect from the characters. I also felt a disconnect because even though the girls often appear in each others' chapters, there are a lot of the times where they don't, so it was sometimes a while before I heard from one of them. I still don't feel like I know much about Jane because most of her narration revolves around her crush, but I definitely feel like Natalya and Victoria were more realistic. I enjoyed seeing Natalya try to navigate school when some people tried to take advantage of her, but I especially liked Victoria's chapters. Some of her decisions occasionally appeared to come out of nowhere, but I felt like her three-dimensional personality made up for it. Her awkward feelings from being in the public eye made her easy to relate to, and I enjoyed seeing her break out of her shell. I also loved seeing the problems all the girls worked through, because each time they encountered a new problem, it was easy to see how it affected all of them and how determined they were to overcome it. I wish there was more about some of the supporting characters, though, especially each of the girls' love interests, but I'm sure the minor characters' roles will grow in the next installments of the series.

The Darlings Are Forever was much better than I initially expected, but I didn't love it. However, I still found it to be very sweet and a spot-on portrayal of the many ups and downs of friendship.

Book details: Hyperion/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Descriptions and such from goodreads!

This week I bought:

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….

---I loved Bleeding Violet by this author and have been dying to read Slice of Cherry since its release. And now, it is mine! Muahaha.

I also received a few books for review:

Brother/Sister by Sean Olin

Will and Asheley have a troubled past. Their father left them when they were little, and their mother has just been carted off to an alcohol treatment center. Now, they have the house to themselves, and an endless California summer stretching out before them. Through alternating perspectives, they tell the story of how and why their lives spun violently out of control—right up to the impossibly shocking conclusion you'll have to read for yourself to believe.

---I like how cryptic this summary is attempting to be. Sounds like it will be an intense book.


So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

When Brooke's crush, Scott, moves from their suburban town to New York City, she decides to follow him there. Living with her formerly estranged dad and adapting to a new school are challenging, and things go from bad to worse when Brooke learns that Scott already has a girlfriend. But as she builds her new life, Brooke begins to discover a side of herself she never knew existed. And as she finds out, in the city that never sleeps, love can appear around any corner...

---I always enjoy Susane Colasanti's book, so I can't wait to see how this one turns out.