Friday, December 31, 2010

Me on Reading in 2010

I really do think that this past year was the best reading year I've had so far. So many books were read, some bought, some borrowed, and even some won.

It was a year of firsts for my reading. First ever ARC (Crescendo). First book signing in years (Mindi Scott's book release fun for Freefall). First time I've borrowed books from the library in years. First introduction to Cassandra Clare's great books (and all in the past 2 months). First time book review blogging. First e-book reader (got a Kobo for Christmas).

It was a good year. I'll start at the beginning.

Shiver and Hush, Hush. Whoa. Both were so good, and had enough suspense and mystery mixed in with being a teenager while dealing with a new guy that's more that what he appears to be on the surface. Shiver's Sam was the sweetest boyfriend ever, a werewolf with a poet's heart, while Hush, Hush's Patch was the classic bad boy with a twinkle in his eye. Then came Meridian, a book that wobbled a bit for me. It was good, life and death, good and evil, helping others, finding out your purpose in life. Maybe the religious wacko was a little much for me.

Fallen. More angels, yes, but the whole past life addition and creepy private school tweaked it to make it interesting. I like Luce because she's not a pushover, she knows something's wrong, and she's got this desire to figure out what the deal is.

The Hunger Games. I'll cover all 3 books here. They were close to epic. It was odd, reading books about teenagers in a post-apocalyptic cloudy smoky world needing to compete and kill each other in order to survive. It's a dismal world, one that could very well happen in the future, and it shows the depths that people go to to be able to survive, to keep their families alive and safe. It was a weird journey, those 3 books, but still good.

More werewolves appeared in The Dark Divine. Another twist on werewolves, on good and evil, on religion. It was one of those books where I can't explain how I like it, but I do. Grace wasn't necessarily a pushover but she wasn't a wimp, Daniel was brooding and hot, Jude was angry. It was great. Then I found The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I hadn't expected. It was creepy and haunting, and felt oddly colonial to me, but that's probably because of the lack of technology and the long skirts.

Wings and Spells were sweet and romantic, full of faeries with pretty wings and gross trolls, plus the ever popular love triangle. Oh, Laurel. Whoever will you pick in the end? Beautiful Creatures appeared in between. It's an epic book, epic length, epic action, epic magic, epic romance. It feels so Southern and tragic and gothic and romantic. Sisters Red was so good (find my review), The Body Finder was haunting, and Forgive My Fins was fun.

Sea was one of the surprise reads. I didn't expect it to cover what it did, to go so deep into the aftermath of the tsunami in the South Pacific 4 years ago (I think it's 4 years). So real, so eye-opening, so emotional. The werewolves made another appearance in Linger, the sequel to Shiver. I don't want to give away spoilers but there was more Sam being the best boyfriend ever, more Grace just wanting to be with Sam, more Isobel being angry and confused, and brand new Cole.

If you've seen my review of Bleeding Violet, you know I loved it. Siren was different, involving a paranormal character that doesn't appear a lot (sirens). Jealousy brought me back to Dru kicking ass and putting up with all the guys around her who want to treat her with kid gloves. And the cliffhanger? Shocking. ;)

Oh, Scott Pilgrim. I'm not a big comic book/graphic novel reader, but these were so good. There's action, there's bands, there's nerd references, there's Canadian references. It's like comic books for dorks who might not ever be heroes except if life were more like video games. So so good.

Paranormalcy kicked butt, or tased butt (see my review). Both Eyes Like Stars and Wondrous Strange reminded me how much I love Shakespeare, especially when mixed with teens and romance. The Replacement was haunting, so spooky and creepy and twisted. You've got to read it in the dark in the middle of the night. So good.

Torment brought me back to Luce and Daniel, only this time there's more Luce asking questions and getting next to nothing until she takes it into her own hands and goes diving off into something dangerous, but sometimes a girl has to do that.

Crescendo. More building up for Nora and Patch, only this time they've been split apart, sort of, and Nora starts to learn some things about her father and why he died. And why Patch showed up not long after. Then the end, a giant of a cliffhanger that's left everyone gasping for breath, wanting the third book. And find my review for Nightshade to find out how good it was.

I've written a review for Clockwork Angel, but I also read the first three Mortal Instruments books right before that. All were really good, like epic fantasy for teens and weird twists and New York and new cities. It's an amazing world in those books.

Matched was oddly refreshing at the end of the year (sort of). I think I'd been waiting for something dystopic that wasn't dangerous and deadly like The Hunger Games or epic fantasy-ish like Incarceron. It reminded me in parts of Brave New World, where the world has changed and people are controlled to do and to learn and to feel what they are supposed to. Cassia's smart, but curious where the Society doesn't want her to be, and isn't going to give up looking for Ky. Plus both Ky and Xander were both hot book guys. How to choose? ;)

So, this is my snippit of the books I've read over the past 12 months. Not all the books, since I've read 122 books this past year, but some of the good ones. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Me on Sisters Red

Part of my Christmas Re-reading. Rather festive, don't you think?? :)

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: June 7, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 326 (Hardcover)

Red Riding Hood's okay, but Sisters Red is way cooler, and way more bad-ass. ;) Like if Red could kick butt, wielded sharp knives, and was gritty as hell with a chip off her shoulder. And a little sister. I figured me and my sister could be like Scarlett and Rosie, if we had knives and could beat the crap out of Fenris when they tried to kill someone and Rosie was older. My sis can be feisty, she'd fit as Scarlett. ;)

Scarlett and Rosie March, sisters who feel like they each have one half of the same heart, live alone in a small cottage. Scarlett loves hunting Fenris, werewolves that lure young girls to them, and has hunted them since one scarred her for life while she protected her younger sister. Rosie wants to be just like her big sis, but dreams of a life away from hunting, away from weapons and buying 11 packs of gauze every few weeks. They've got an unbreakable bond, but their differences are threatening to drive them apart, especially when Silas, an old friend comes back, and different packs arrive to jack up the body count.

I kept thinking of my sister as I read this, mostly because she's the only sibling I have, and while Scarlett and Rosie were similar, they had their differences. Scarlett was rough while Rosie was soft and sweet. Scarlett was logical while Rosie's the dreamer. Their relationship was so realistic, so perfect. I could just see them arguing right in front of me, bright red cloaks swirling, Fenris blood dripping from Scarlett's hatchet.

The involvement of Silas was almost like a wedge slowly splitting them apart. His ability to get to Rosie shows here that her and her sister aren't the same person, that she doesn't have to spend the rest of her life hunting, that she doesn't have to bandage cuts and scars every other night and live in a small, dusty cottage, even if it's what Scarlett wants. It was a little sad, seeing their separation, but they'll always love each other. They'll always be linked together, even if they don't share the same heart.

This is a great book for sisters, for people who wants to see what a sister will go through to save the other, for people who like werewolves without being obvious about it and a bit more normal/regular character development, and all fans of Little Red Riding Hood stories.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (7)

More Waiting on Wednesday fun can be found at Breaking the Spine where Jill rules. ;)

This whole thing could be the books I want for Christmas, but it won't be. :)

Title: Wildcat Fireflies
Author: Amber Kizer
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

On Goodreads:

Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra—the half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead. She has the dark responsibility of helping souls transition safely into the afterlife. If people die without the help of a Fenestra, their souls are left vulnerable to be stolen by the Aternocti, a dark band of forces who disrupt the balance of good and evil in the world and cause chaos.

Having recently lost her beloved Auntie—the woman who showed her what it meant to be a Fenestra—Meridian has hit the road with Tens, her love and sworn protector, in hopes of finding another Fenestra. Their search leads them to Indiana, where Juliet, a responsible and loving teenager, works tirelessly in the nursing home where she and several other foster kids are housed. Surrounded by death, Juliet struggles to make a loving home for the younger kids, and to protect them from the violent whims of their foster mother. But she is struggling against forces she can't understand . . . and even as she feels a pull toward the dying, their sickness seems to infect her, weighing her down. . . .

Will Meri and Tens find Juliet in time to save her from a life of misery and illness? And will Meri and Tens' own romance weather the storms of new discoveries?

I read the first book, Meridian, last Christmas/birthday when I got it as a present, which means I've been waiting for almost a year for the next book. I thought it was interesting, kinda different, and maybe a little sad but there's nothing wrong with that. I so want this next book.

Title: Born at Midnight
Author: C.C. Hunter
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 416 (Paperback)

On Goodreads:

Kylie Galen has had a lot of crap tossed in her lap. Her parents are getting a divorce. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn’t put out. Her grandmother died and now Kylie’s acquired a stalker. Unfortunately, she’s the only one who seems to be able to see the stalker. And that gets her sent to a psychologist’s sofa.

The kooky psychologist gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it’s a camp for troubled teens.

They thought wrong.

It’s a camp of supernaturals: vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shape shifters. And if she believes the camp leader, Kylie is one of them, too.

Just because she’s seeing ghosts, just because she was born at midnight, does that really mean she’s not human? And if so, what is she? Not even the other supernaturals can tell her.

As Kylie attempts to cope with the realization that these creatures actually exist, and that she might even be one of them, the ever present stalker/ghost appears to have secrets that could unravel the mystery of Kylie’s identity and her destiny.

But getting a ghost to open up is as hard as getting a guy to talk about his feelings.

As Kylie struggles to find answers, two hot guys, a werewolf and a half-fairy vie for her attention. However, Kylie’s determined that before she lets her heart discover a new love, she needs to solve her identity crisis and unearth the truth of her destiny.

This book just sounds weird and funky and cool. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Me on Paranormalcy

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 335 (Hardcover)

Part of my Christmas Re-reading list.

There's no other way I can describe this book without using the word adorable. Evie's cute, fun, bubbly, says what she's thinking, knows that she wants, yells when you piss her off (Reth is such a jerk), but she just wants to be normal. Sort of. She wants the normal that is TV teen dramas like her wonderful Easton Heights. It was one of the funny parts. I remember watching TV shows like that and imagining that's what high school was like. *sigh* Good times.

Kiersten White's created a weird world where paranormal creatures (vampires, werewolves, faeries, mermaids, hags, trolls, other spirits and the like) are all hunted to keep track of. It's an authoritarian deal that teens are bound to rebel against, as well as people who aren't big fans of enforced authority, imprisonment, and the like. Plus it was like chick lit mixed with paranormal stuff, which is pretty good. Sure, there was kissing (yay) but it was fun and not all dark and sad and dangerous. Well, maybe some danger. ;)

I really liked Evie. She's fun, cute, and carries a pink taser. How can you not like her? How many of us wouldn't want their own taser? She was different than other paranormal YA characters, a little lost in terms of the real world, but she'd been kept locked away from the world. It had a way of making you pissed off and just a little rebellious once you get glimpses of what's really going on. And Lish. My favourite bleeping mermaid.

And of course Evie has guys to fight over her, even if one's nice and one's an obsessed nutbar. I'm pro-Lend and anti-Reth. Reth just seemed a bit too creepy, like a stalker ex-boyfriend. Lend was new and different and interesting, and the fact that he lives in the real world and goes to real high school and has a real locker. An actual real locker. Oh, bleep. ;)

I wondered how the little twists and cliffhangers were going to be pulled off. Sometimes I wasn't sure what would happen next, what was really going on, what Evie really was with her ability to see through glamours, why Lend looked all watery, why Reth was acting so strange. White pulled it off, I never really saw some parts coming, like what Evie really was.

And so I'm waiting for book 2, Supernaturally, and I can only hope that it's just as good as the first one. :) I bleeping loved it. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Me on The Eternal Ones

Title: The Eternal Ones
Author: Kirsten Miller
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

I first heard about this book not long after I read Ann Brashares' My Name is Memory. They sounded sort of the same: girl meets a guy who remembered all their past lives together and trouble ensues. And so, after reading a general adult fiction book that dragged on a bit and looped around and was a bit too long for my liking, I wasn't so sure on Kirsten Miller's foray into past lives and love that never dies. (I promise I didn't mean to rhyme there)

The book in general had a very old-timey 1920's or 30's New York feel to me, even at the beginning of the book where we meet Haven in present day small town Tennessee. I enjoyed the overall story, the different places Haven and Iain go to, the flashbacks and notes and other small parts. Even though Haven's character bugged me a little, she seemed a bit passive in some spots, but when I finished I wanted to jump into it again and re-read it to see if I could pick out any hints at the society or a sequel.

And I found out there's going to be a book two titled As You Desire. Ooooooo. Sounds intriguing.

I enjoyed the fact that there was a society set up to keep track of people who could remember their past lives. It felt practical, but calling it the Ouroboros Society made it sound both romantic and inescapable. The snake eating its own tail is a powerful symbol if you believe that you're destined to relive the same events over and over again, that no matter when we live or who we are, everything is connected and happens over and over again.

It's rather philosophical, if you think about it.

Haven's a strong girl, she's able to survive the verbal and emotional abuse from her grandmother and the lack of being able to fit in in a small town and takes charge by heading to New York to find Iain, but I thought she took a long time leaving Tennessee. I suppose I assumed she'd pick up and go once she realized that Iain was Ethan, her love from a past life, but there was a chunk of time where she had to suffer and prepare before leaving.

It may sound like I'm torn on whether or not I liked this book, but I did. It was romantic, thoughtful, philosophical. I'm tempted to run out and buy my own copy so I can read it again. I think the idea of past lives is interesting, when the only thing that keeps you going year after year, decade after decade, is love (reminds me of Lauren Kate's Fallen series). It's not contemporary or paranormal, it's nowhere near sci-fi, it might be fantasy, or it's a new sub-genre of reincarnation.

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying it. :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Check out Breaking the Spine where Jill hosts Waiting on Wednesday every week.

Title: Slice of Cherry
Author: Dia Reeves
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 512 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

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….

If you've read my review of Bleeding Violet, Dia's first book, then you know how excited I am to read this next book set in the freakishly strange town of Portero. I was to visit this town. It seems to satisfy the weird, gruesome part of me. I bet I could find a weird boyfriend there. ;) Plus the giggly part of me wants a Swan and Little Swan cameo. So adorable. :D

Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

Love, blood, betrayal and revenge — the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter—and spending time with her new boyfriend Jace. Not to mention that Simon doesn’t quite know how to handle the pressure of not-quite-dating two girls at once. What’s a daylight-loving vampire to do? Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city—only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they’d won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day — if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge.

After my Clockwork Angel review and general enjoyment of the first three Mortal Instruments books, and the release of this gorgeous cover yesterday (the 14th), how could I not feature this one? And now it's Simon's time to shine, I see. ;) Score. He's like the cute nerd vampire missing from so many other vampire books.The thing is I read the first three all mostly together. Now, if I read this one not long after it comes out, there'll be a big wait for the next two books. *sigh*

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Me on Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 344 (Hardcover)

No new In My Mailbox this week. No new books, plus I'm starting my Christmas Re-reading. It's all good. I've read about 118 new books this year. :)

So, this book. It was a mix of the summary and the cover that made me want to read this. The cover is adorable, and Amy and Roger are lots of fun. Well, Amy was fun while Roger was semi-obsessed with his ex-girlfriend and it takes the detour road-trip to get him to realize that maybe she wasn't right for him. The ex, not Amy. Amy and Roger are cute together. :)

Amy's life kinda sucks: her mother's making her move from California to Connecticut between her junior and senior year (grade 11 & 12), her brother's off in rehab, she's ignoring her friend's e-mails, and her dad recently died in a car accident. Now she has to drive their car to Connecticut with a guy she barely remembers from her childhood. Yeah, things aren't perfect.

Amy needs this trip and the detour that Roger proposes. She needs to break free, to live, to cope, to survive, to take control of her life again and live it instead of just going through the motions. She needs to move on from the accident, and Roger helps her do that, even if it upsets her mother. Yeah, well, if I was Amy and I'd been forced to move across the country, I'd take my time getting there, too.

The story was good, the characters funny, but what drew me in were the little pictures and journal entries and driving playlists and all the extra bits. I love bits like that in books. It makes it feel real and less like a bunch of words. In a book like this, it needed it. The receipts from buying gas and chocolate bars, the hotel reservation cards, the e-mails and postcards. So cool.

If you're looking for a book that's fun and sweet and sort of a character-building exercise for a girl pushing forward with her life after a tragic loss, then this is the book for you. Well, how about you go read it just because. It was a fun read. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me on Clockwork Angel

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 479 (Hardcover)

The cover's so pretty. There, I've got that out of the way. ;)

I've read Cassandra Clare's other books recently, the first three in The Mortal Instruments series. I actually waited to read this one so I could read those three first, just so I would be like everyone else who read her books in the same order. I almost wonder what my perception would've been not reading those three first, if I'd waited those two years for the rest of The Infernal Devices.

Tessa Grey heads for Victorian London to find her brother Nate only to be kidnapped by a pair of creepy sisters. It's there she learns she's not exactly human but a Downworlder, one of the warlocks, werewolves, vampires or other supernatural beings that wander through the streets. She can change into another person, living or dead, as long as she's holding onto something that belongs to them. And, of course, someone wants her because of this power.

Then she gets saved by Will and is introduced to the Shadowhunters while getting mixed up in a new evil plot to take over London (and quite possibly the world).

I liked this one a little more than The Mortal Instruments books for possibly one reason: it's set in Victorian London. I love this time period. It was England at possibly its best: industry was booming, population was booming, science and technology was growing, the high-class social scene (the ton) was gorgeous, and literature was great. The small part of my literary brain that loves Victorian literature loved the quick book dropping of Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (only because I read it while getting my B.A.). I need to read more Victorian lit.

The clockwork/steampunk-ish addition was funky and cool. This is a time of technology and practicality, people were figuring out how things worked and how to create bigger and better machines. Evolution was new and controversial, but some grabbed hold of it and loved it. Who needs magic or religion when there's no explanation for it? (This is more of the Victorian scholar in me talking.)

And the love/like triangle. Tessa's a little meek and confused and lost, but I like it, and she's drawn to both Will, someone ballsy and opinionated and possibly more than a little reckless, and Jem, someone quieter and kinder and more fragile. I can't pick a side like so many other fans have. I don't know who Tessa should end up with. The ending confused me a little, (spoiler so I won't say), but it also made me want to go back and read the book again. Which I can't right now (December 9, 2010) because I borrowed the book from the library. I will get my own copy one day.

There were lots of similarities between this book and the other series: the girls being mostly the main focus and the fact that they're totally clueless to Shadowhunters and Downworlders and everything else, the love triangle, the brother as a factor, the last names, the in charge mother figure, the vaguely angry girl who's a Shadowhunter, the running around and being captured/kidnapped, the evil guy wanting to take over. I wasn't surprised by it because the differences balanced it out for me: the setting, the fact that Tessa isn't a Shadowhunter while Clary is, the clockwork machines instead of the Circle (man and machine instead of magic and power). I imagine there were some readers who thought it was pretty much the same book all over again, but the familiarity of the previous three books didn't take away anything for me. It was the same but different. That's why I read series more often than stand-alone novels.

And I loved the "return" of Magnus Bane. ;)

And Tessa's little clockwork angel necklace. So cute. I want one. And it's so going to mean something later on, I just know it.

So, maybe a little rambly, but when aren't my reviews a little rambly? Rarely. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (5)

More Waiting on Wednesday fun can be found at Breaking the Spine where Jill sponsors it every week. :)

Seems to be a 'half of one face with sweepy hair on the cover of a book written by someone with a last name that starts with C' Wednesday, too. ;)

Title: A Touch Mortal
Author: Leah Clifford
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

From Goodreads:

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

Doesn't that sound exciting?? And supposedly (from what I've seen on Goodreads), Az might be Eden's ex. Curveball. ;)

Title: Entangled
Author: Cat Clarke
Release Date: Quercus Publishing Plc.
Publisher: January 6, 2011
Pages: 374 (Paperback)

From Goodreads:

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

Oooooo, how mysterious. Why is she in that room? Who is "he"? What's missing? Why is the room all white?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Me on My Re-reading Christmas

I love books. Duh. ;) If I read it once, it was okay. If I read it more than once, I freaking loved it. When I first read Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush, I read them again once I was finished (not at the same time).

Since my library books are due back soon, I'm planning to hide out over the Christmas break and do some re-reading. Which might be almost all of the YA books I've bought this past year.

It's been such an amazing reading year. So many good books. As of this posting, I've read 113 books in 2010. That's a lot. I'm surprised it's more than 100.

So, why am I re-reading instead of reading for the first time? Because I bought so many pretty and wonderful books this year and I want to read them again. I want to find those worlds again, re-learn the secrets and surprises, meet the characters again but this time suffer as they slowly trek their way through the book when I already know the ending.

Re-reading is like meeting up with friends after not seeing them for a year: you remember the good times and the bad, you realize bits about them you totally forgot. Sure, there's no catching up and learning new things, but that's what sequels are for. ;)

Here's my re-reading list:

Hush, Hush & Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick 
Strange Angels, Betrayals, & Jealousy by Lili.St. Crow
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting 
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce 
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Sea by Heidi R. Kling
13 to Life by Shannon Delany
A Year in Europe: Three Novels by Rachel Hawthorne

I wonder if you're asking, "Do I have to do this as well??" You don't, but if you don't have review deadlines or stacks and stacks of books to read for the first time, I would give it a shot. I'm doing this because at the moment I have no new books to read (well, except for Insight and Matched). Besides, I really liked these books and I want the chance to read them again with no pressure.

Of course, I might review some every so often. ;)

Happy Christmas reading, people. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Me on In My Mailbox (5)

Yay! New books this week! No time to read them, though. Nuts. Head on over to The Story Siren for more IMM fun. :)

And finally, something other than contemporary YA. ;) Well, I am reading Kiersten Miller's The Eternal Ones right now. I wouldn't call it contemporary. It's got a classy old world 1920's feel to it, even with the present day setting. Score. :)

Bought (more like caved and bought it for myself as a finishing NaNoWriMo present):
Matched by Ally Condie (so pretty, I looked through all 10 copies at the bookstore to find the prettiest one) :)

Won on Goodreads:
Insight by Jamie Magee (thank you to Jamie and to Goodreads, this one will be reviewed once I get through the 3.5 library books I have left to read)

Happy reading, people. Stay warm. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Me on The DUFF

Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown/Poppy
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

To start: holy freaking crap.

It was edgy, it was punchy, it was shockingly honest. It was so outrageously real that when I finished it I wished that I was back in high school so I could appreciate it more.

Now, I will admit that in the beginning I didn't want to read this book. High school, for me, was the closest thing to hell on earth. I was in that group of nerd-ish girls that never had dates or went to dances or had close guy friends. I didn't want to read this book because I didn't want to admit to myself that I was a 'duff.' (And I'd never heard the term before, but hey, I live in BC, Canada. Some slang doesn't always cross the border.) After reading, I've admitted to myself that I was a duff, but it's true what Keplinger writes, that we're all duffs. We're all insecure about how we look or act or talk, and it shouldn't matter, we should be able to look or act or talk the way we want, but it does matter. I wish I had this book when I was in high school. Maybe I wouldn't have been so introverted, or uncomfortable, or lonely and single.

On to the book. It's an amazing book. Keplinger is so honest and so realistic. I immediately meshed with Bianca, a smart girl with a punchy attitude who thinks her friends are way prettier than she is. I understood her hatred and later using of Wesley. He's a womanizing slimeball like so many other guys in high school, and smoking hot to boot, but he's got problems, too.

Sure, Bianca uses Wesley for sex to escape from friends and family and ex-boyfriends, and while she's 17 and in high school, I didn't have a problem with it. I was okay with it. She's mature in using condoms and birth control, and she's smart enough to understand the consequences (mostly) of sleeping with a guy while being 17 and in high school.

So much is being thrown at her, too: an absent parent, friends moving on with their lives, an ex-boyfriend who cruelly used and dumped her. She's desperate for a distraction, even one that's brought on by kissing a guy she hates, then sleeping with him, then falling for him. I love that Bianca vs. herself conflict over her relationship with Wesley. She thinks he's a jerk, but there's that elusive 'something about him' that makes her forget all about her problems for that brief period of time.

The small teeny tiny issue I had was that Bianca kept so much inside and slept with Wesley to forget about her problems instead of talking about them with her best and closest friends. I guess it's just the truth that everyone keeps secrets, even from the people they're closest to.

All in all, I thought this book was really good. The honesty was a wonderful surprise. It wasn't gritty in the realism like Harmonic Feedback was, but still honest and realistic and very believable.

I promise my next review will be a paranormal YA book. I should really blend my reading of the two. ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (4)

No IMM this week because I'm new book-less and still working my way through that giant pile of library books. But there is new Waiting on Wednesday, brought to us by Jill at Breaking the Spine, because my to-read list is almost 350 books deep.

Since it's December, the obvious holiday month (as well as my birthday), I'm doing more than one book. :) Also because of the cover love. So pretty. :D

Title: Blood Magic
Author: Tessa Gratton
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Sounds spooky, doesn't it?? Well, good. I love this kind of secret mystery magic stuff. :)

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 440 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

This book's gotten a lot of early buzz and positive reviews. It does have an interesting concept, that love is a disease, because it is, in a way, depending on who you are and how you've lived your life. This is another one of those books that I'm avoiding reviews of so it isn't spoiled for me (like with Nightshade and Crescendo, and also Matched)

Title: Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 304

From Goodreads:

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home two years later, a precarious and deadly balance waits. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, laced with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept.

Another contemporary YA I'm looking forward to reading. I think it's the relationship between the sisters and the circumstances for their separation that interest me the most.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Me on Harmonic Feedback

Title: Harmonic Feedback
Author: Tara Kelly
Release Date: May 25, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 278 (Hardcover)

This seems to be the fall/winter where I read a lot of contemporary YA. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I've been enjoying it. :)

Plus, I'm continuing my trend of reviewing books that haven't gotten a lot of publicity and aren't that well known, which sucks for the author because the book's really good.

So, Drea has to move to Bellingham with her single mom to live with their grandmother, which sucks. Plus, she's got issues, some of which might be ADHD and "a little bit of Asperger's." She's not perfect, but who is? And then there's her love of music and sound editing (which I think is really cool).

She meets Naomi and Justin, forms a band, and then is forced to deal with the rougher side of life when all she wants to do is run and hide behind her sound equipment.

I was surprised that I loved this book so much. I mean, I don't read books unless they interest me, so I figured I was going to like it, but it was so much better than I expected.

Drea's coping with the Asperger's and the ADHD didn't overshadow the plot and other characters, which was good. It's not about her and her problems, but more about her learning how to cope in a world that isn't perfect, that might chew you up and spit you out, leaving you to regain control over your life. The curve balls thrown her way keep piling up: Naomi and her questionable choices, Justin's surprising interest in her, her mother and the cavalier way she gets involved with all the wrong men, her grandmother's bitterness.

I was surprised at the grit and the realism in this book. The alcohol, the drugs, the car races, the bullying, the cops and crime, the overdose, the teen sex. I think contemporary YA needs the realism to be compelling. If it's not realistic, if it doesn't cover the good and the bad of life, then it's more like outrageous fantasy. The grit in this book surprised me a little, I wasn't expecting it, but it made the book.

What's YA without a little romance? ;) There's a couple different situations where romance starts: the main character gets together with their crush, or the main character gets surprised by someone who has a crush on them. What happens to Drea is the latter. She meets Justin, thinks he's weird and annoying, but he's drawn to her and her offbeat unique ways. I don't want to say adorable, but it's adorable, in a realistic teens mature enough to have sex after facing trouble and hardship way.

In short, go read this book. It's a great debut, like Mindi Scott's Freefall (hi, Mindi). It's on my Christmas list because the copy I read is from the library. I want my own copy. Proof that it's a great book, right?? ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Ok, so I missed doing this last week, and maybe when I was sick, too. Sorry. :) Check out Jill at Breaking the Spine for more Waiting on Wednesday fun.

And I'm doing three because there are 300+ books on my to-read list right now. ;)

Title: Defiance (Strange Angels #4)
Author: Lili St. Crow
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill

From Goodreads:

The heart-stopping fourth novel in New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series.

Now that sixteen-year-old Dru's worst fears have come true and Sergej has kidnapped her best friend Graves, she'll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring him back in one piece.
That is, if she can put all of Christophe's training to good use, defeat her mother's traitor, Anna, once and for all, and manage to survive another day . . . 

I love this series. Totally love it. Dru kicks butt like only Buffy could, but there's no cutesy California high school vibe. She's such a hard ass, with a hint of teen girl social awkwardness and loads of attitude. It's rough and nothing's ever easy for Dru, and it's so awesome. One slam after another after another and she's grasping at straws to stay alive. I can't wait for next spring when this book comes out.

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I miss reading science fiction some days, and it's looking like this is going to be really good. The early buzz is positive, almost everyone I know on Goodreads has this on their list, and the cover is so pretty. :)

Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 240 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

I've only read one book by McMann before (Wake), and I liked it. This book sounds so messed up and so cool. I think writing about teens with anxiety disorders (look at Tara Kelly's Harmonic Feedback, Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet, or Christine Feehan's Water Bound (this one's a romance novel)) and not totally focusing on them makes the characters stand out more. Sure, they're not "normal," but who is, especially when they're a teenager? No one's totally perfect, physically or mentally, so why shouldn't they be included in the books we write? It sounds pretty spooky, but I recently read and loved The Replacement.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Me on In My Mailbox (4)

I'm behind. Nuts. Well, first I was sick, and then NaNoWriMo took over a little, and then I didn't get any new books. But I've got some now. And check out The Story Siren for more IMM fun. :)

Borrowed from the library:
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
City of Ashes, City of Glass, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

And those 10 books are mine for the next three weeks. I think I'm going to have a Cassandra Clare overdose or something. So saving those for last. ;)

And and with any luck, I'll have a review up soon for Harmonic Feedback. So so good, and I don't usually read contemporary YA, but this year I've read Freefall and You Wish and Take Me There and really enjoyed them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Me on Random Monday (1)

Ok, so I made this up because I've picked up a coldy fluish thing, complete with aches, sinus pressure, a cough, and a stuffed up nose. Basically, my head feels twice as big as it should be with all the extra goo.

Now that I've grossed you out (sorry), I'm going to have some fun.

Which is just an excuse to put up some pretty pictures of book covers. :D

Go forth and drool over the prettiness. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Me on In My Mailbox (3)

IMM is once again brought to us this week by The Story Siren. :)

And strangely enough, I did get some books this week, even with NaNoWriMo (which I'm behind in) and me possibly getting sick. I'm starting to feel the sinus pressure. Ouch.

Since I'm sick, I don't really feel like taking pictures and then fiddling around with moving them from my cell to my computer. Pictures will return next week or whenever I get some more books.

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
Immortal Sea by Virginia Kantra

Plus I have most of the library books from last week to read.

So, not a lot, but I've been busy pushing for my 1667 words a day. And since I missed most of yesterday, I have 2500 words to write today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Me on Nightshade

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Pages: 454 (Hardcover)

I've been meaning to write this review for at least a week. First, I wasn't quite sure how to word it. Then I got busy with my own writing. And then I wasn't sure how to word it again.

Not surprisingly, since this is how a bunch of my ideas for my undergraduate work came out of my head, I wrote down a list of bits and points in the middle of the night.

A lot of my readings and outlines were written in the middle of the night.

A lot of my reading now is done in the middle of the night. This book was no exception.

This book is wonderful, an exciting mix of romance, rebellion, werewolves and witches. I was forever swept away by the twists and turns, the danger and the secrets, the different characters. I didn't want it to end, and when it did I wanted to scream for the next book, Wolfsbane.

On purpose, as with another recent release (Becca Fitzpatrick's Crescendo), I avoided all early reviews and spoilers, like the blog and videos centered around the character of Shay Doran put out by the publisher. That isn't to say I thought they were pointless. Once my pre-ordered copy arrived I read the blog, watched the videos, downloaded the prequel. It enhanced the book for me, introducing the book through a different viewpoint. Of course, it did make me want more of Shay. ;)

Part of my reason for loving this book is Calla. Confused as any human teenager would be, torn between two potential boyfriends as any high school girl would be. She was believable, realistic, even with her being a werewolf. Teens are often pulled in certain ways by their emotions, their hormones, their families and friends. Adding the supernatural/paranormal element only serves to make the novel more mysterious.

The mythology. The werewolves and the witches were unique in terms of their purpose, their abilities, their history. Such a relationship has been done before, like where werewolves protect vampires during the day at the peak of their vulnerability, but using witches as the dominant power was interesting. I've often enjoyed novels that include werewolf or witch/wiccan characters, such as Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series (werewolves & vampires), Carolyn MacCullough's Once a Witch (witches), Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld books (werewolves, witches, vampires, & demons), and for the romance novel crowd, Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series (werewolves, vampires, witches, demons, valkyrie, & fae).

The romance. I liked the love triangle, even though it's become a cliché. But this wasn't a standard triangle where Calla was always drawn to both Ren and Shay. Her uneasiness to the mating with Ren was okay with me. Sure, there's the physical attraction between the two of them, but I couldn't find the emotional connection that Calla had with Shay. She's torn between them for different reasons: she wants Shay but forces beyond her control push her towards Ren.

This book is why I love YA, why I read it, why I write it, and why more people need to read it. So much has been crammed into 452 pages but it's not overwhelming. It's all connected, all related, all important to the story.

This book has so much to do with control, with adults and their control over youth, with secrets and boundaries, the difference between truth and lies/right and wrong/moral and immoral. So much about choices, about consequences and facing them when the situation turns dangerous. So much about finding your place in life, in the world, and justifying your reasons to the ones in control.

So much about defiance when you don't believe in what you've been taught anymore, about knowledge and how dangerous uncovering the truth can be.

So much about hiding who you are to protect others, about control leading to abuse, about speaking out instead of keeping silent.

So much about following your heart when it's constantly at war with your head.

During my undergraduate years, I took a children's lit class. If I was taking it now, I would write a paper on Nightshade. It's beautiful.

So, for everyone who was wondering if I was going to enjoy this book, if I thought it was going to live up to all the early buzz, I did and it does.

It so does.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Props to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting Waiting for Wednesday every week. :)

Title: The Lost Saint
Author: Bree Despain
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

I loved The Dark Divine, it had twists and action, secrets and more secrets at the end. This has been another case of me being jealous of reviewers who got ARC's a few months ago. So jealous. I'm curious if anyone else thinks it sounds a bit like Linger, which came out this past summer.

I'm trying to get another review up later this week. Stay tuned. It'll be on Nightshade. :D

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Me on In My Mailbox (2)

Many props to The Story Siren for hosting IMM every week. :)

Lots of books this week. Yay. :D And sorry if the pictures look bad. Stupid cell phone camera.

Borrowed from the library:
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (kinda weird that the library bar code covers her eye)
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

See you all next week. Maybe. I might not get a chance to get any more books with NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me on Chasing Brooklyn

Title: Chasing Brooklyn
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Pages: 412 (Hardcover)

This review might be a little short. I'm sort of drawing from memory since I borrowed this book from the library to read and have since returned it. I meant to write this review a little while ago.

I don't think I realized that this book was in verse, or as I kept saying in my head, 'in poem form,' when I picked it up at the library. I wasn't totally sure about it, mostly because I haven't read a YA book in verse in forever/at all.

But I really liked it.

The emotional depth was shocking. I don't think I expected to feel how I felt after reading it. Writing in verse cut right to the heart of the matter. Brooklyn's sadness and fear, Nico's confusion and attitude. Their slowly growing relationship. All of it.

I think I was close to crying at some spots. I'm actually surprised I didn't cry, I've been a big softie lately.

Like Freefall, this was a book about loss, about acceptance, about letting people in. Because it was written in verse it was a lot more emotional, a lot more character based. Which I'm not knocking. Brooklyn's chapters felt raw while Nico's were a bit more streamlined. It all seemed to fit together.

Brooklyn's resistance to Nico bothered me a little, but then I never lost a boyfriend during that massively hormonal part of my teenage years. I think that also goes to show how difficult it is to move on from something that heartbreaking. You become afraid of being hurt again. You become stuck in a routine, no matter how unhealthy it is.

After reading this, I kept thinking about how it felt to lose someone close, the most recent being my grandmother some years ago. Grief has the ability to rip you apart and leave you a ruined mess. It's a part of life, but so is that recovery, that reintroduction to life and people that can help you move on.

This book was emotional, but still very good. It's good to read a book like this, one that pulls at your heart and doesn't let go, even at the end. I read this almost a month ago and I'm still thinking about it.

After both Chasing Brooklyn and Freefall, I think I need to review a different book next. One that's still really good but not so sad. :)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted every week by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you really want to read but haven't yet. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.
And it's my first time doing this, too. :D

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenille
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Pages: 366 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

This book sounds amazing. The synopsis somehow reminds me of a semester when I read a lot of utopian/dystopian speculative fiction, like Brave New World. Add the romantic element, the torn between what's expected and what Cassia wants to do, and I'm hooked. There's been a lot of positive buzz for this book and I'm anxious to read it. I'm wondering if I should just buy it instead of waiting for Christmas. ;)

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

Again, I don't read a lot of contemporary YA, but something about this just drew me in. Maybe it's the mix of romance and (hopefully) humour and Paris. Not long ago I read Rachel Hawthorne's A Year in Europe: Three Novels about 3 friends who go off to different countries for a year abroad and it seemed to rekindle my love of sweet funny YA romance with no paranormal stuff.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Me on Freefall

Title: Freefall
Author: Mindi Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Pages: 315 (Paperback)

I'll be the first to admit I don't read a lot of contemporary YA novels. The first one I remember taking seriously was when I had to read an excerpt of P.E Ryan's Saints of Augustine in a children's lit class.

Then I heard about this book.

I don't remember where, possibly that wonderful place called Twitter, and added it to my giant to-read list.

Then I heard there was going to be a book signing just south of me in Washington state where Mindi Scott lives, so I jumped in my car and drove 3 hours to see Mindi talk and read and answer questions and get a little weepy. You're adorable, Mindi. :)

So, the book. I love this book. It's heart wrenching at spots and funny at others. I think it hits hard for anyone who's lost someone so close to them and wasn't sure how to go on.

Seth's not coping with the loss/death of his friend Issac. He's not dealing with it. Considering he also found Issac's body after he died, I'm not surprised Seth's not handling life after Issac all that well. He's caught in a spiral he doesn't really want to escape, so close to hitting rock bottom at the beginning, which starts the immediate book crush. *girly sigh* Seth's the boy that every high school girl wants to save. He's brooding, he's troubled, he's in a band. What girl wouldn't have a crush on him? ;)

Then there's Rosetta. Her quirks and different attitude seem to wake him up, and then he learns about her secrets, secrets that aren't so different from his own, and maybe Seth isn't the only one who needs to be saved.

This book is very much a pulling back from the edge and letting people in and moving on sort of book. It was so realistic and/or believable, it's not all sunshine and puppies, and there's a hint of roughness that made it all the better. Maybe it was the alcohol and the swearing or the class division and the fighting or Seth's relationship with his brother, or maybe it was just Seth himself, his voice. It started as a rough around the edges sort of book and over time some of those sharp corners were rounded off a little.

Seth doesn't seem to want to let people in and change his outlook on life after finding Issac dead, but he has to if he's going to move on. He needs the support of the people around him, of Rosetta, Kendall, his friends, his family, his new band. It's hard letting people in, and it's not easy getting over a close friend's sudden death. It really sucks sometimes, but Seth had to learn that he couldn't spend the rest of his life drunk, failing math, and pushing people who care about him away.

It's a wonderful book. Seth's rough edges, Rosetta's quirks, Kendall's Gummy bear smell (as Seth puts it), Daniel's nicknames for everyone. I love this book.

And Seth. ;) I love Seth. Can I keep him, Mindi? Please??