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??

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Me on In My Mailbox (1)

It's my first time ever doing this. yay. :) And yay to The Story Siren who hosts IMM.

Since this is the start of me doing In My Mailbox, I'm going to go back a little more than a week to the 14th. I'll try and post a new IMM every Sunday or Monday, if I happen to get books that week. Sometimes there are slow weeks. :)

Bought (on a trip down into Washington state to go to a book signing):
Freefall by Mindi Scott (signed)
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Picked up at the library:
White Cat by Holly Black

Won on Twitter:
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (ARC) (from the wonderful people at @SimonPulseCA)

Now, I'm off to do some reading, some writing, and some review prep. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Me on Bleeding Violet

Title: Bleeding Violet
Author: Dia Reeves
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Pages: 454 (Hardcover)

my first attempt at a book review. hopefully i don't suck too bad at it. ;)

i picked Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet because i think it's an underrated book. on Goodreads it's been rated 737 times with 224 reviews. most friends and people i follow on Goodreads have it marked as 'to-read.'

it's dark and twisted, haunting and mysterious, gorgeous, unique. it's a great book.

i've even bumped up my Goodreads rating from 4 to 5 stars because i keep coming back to read different parts of this book. it's sucked me in.

the cover blurb, also the summary on Goodreads, raised questions that drew me in.

love can be a dangerous thing.... ooooo, interesting. :)
hallucinations?? pills?? frilly, violet dresses?? hmmm, that's different.
a strange town filled with dark secrets?? *hypnotized face* tell me more.
anything can happen and no one is safe?? yup, i'm hooked.

first, Hanna. i love Hanna *book hug*. i'm curious if it's odd to say that reading a book about a bi-racial, bi-cultural, bipolar teenager is refreshing. characters need to be unique to draw in readers, they have to be believeable, they have to be flawed. Hanna is both unique and flawed. not every girl in every high school all over the world is going to be a bubbly blonde cheerleader that's mentally stable. teens are all different people, they're manic or depressed or bipolar or anorexic or bulimic or a cutter or a jock or a nerd or a drama queen. teen characters need these flaws to make the reader connect, to make the reader believe them.

with the added twist in regards to Hanna's bipolar state, it altered how i read the book through her eyes. Hanna is very brazen, blunt and rather calm, "charming and rational" as one psychiatrist puts it (pg.22), and i guess maybe not controlling but she knows what she wants. she wants her mother Rosalee to accept her and love her, she wants the town to accept her, she wants to fit in at school.

but her mother wants her gone, the town sees her as an outsider, and the kids at school think she's a nutcase that wears bright purple. clearly, they have no fashion sense. ;)

then there's Hanna's father, either a side-effect hallucination brought on by her bi-polar disorder or an actual ghost that's haunting her and her mother. i'm torn between the two.

and Portero. this town clearly has some demons, but what town doesn't?? these ones are just creepy and bizarre and supernatural/paranormal and outrageous. what i enjoyed about Portero is that no one in town lied to themselves about the creepy stuff. they all knew it was there and they accepted it. the weird stuff is normal.

i understand the purpose of the Mortmaine: they're there to help the town when the creepy stuff pops up and tries to kill someone, like paranormal cops. i did think that they were both afraid of change and puppets of the Mayor. Wyatt's resistance is welcome, as are the cards he makes. with the arrival of Hanna, the town changes a little. her weirdness gives them fresh eyes on which to look at the town, and if the town is going to survive, the Mortmaine have to change how they go about stopping and killing the dark creatures.

i would've been upset if there wasn't a romantic aspect to this book. it would've added even more for Hanna to deal with, which it did, even with the bizarre start to their relationship that Hanna and Wyatt had. and then there was Hanna's view of sex and how it seemed to be her decision for her and Wyatt to have sex. it was a little surprising, but teens have sex. it's true. not writing about it isn't going to make it not true. now, Hanna's not promiscuous, she's only interested in Wyatt, and it just seemed to fit with her character. she's brazen and bold, and adult enough to use condoms.

i hope this next part was intentional because it makes spots of the book so vivid: the focus on colour. the purple, the splashes of red everywhere (not always blood, but sometimes), the green of the Mortmaine, the white-blue of Rosalee's kitchen. whenever a colour appeared it popped into my head and filled my vision. the purple of Hanna's dresses, the lipstick red of Rosalee's kitchen chair. gorgeous. :)

in the end, after Hanna fights her way to become a part of Portero, breaking through the barriers established by Rosalee, the evil (and dead) Runyon, and the controlling Mayor. it's one of those 'over for now' endings, which i'm happy to find. not everything is wrapped up. it's Portero, there's still weird creatures and monsters creeping around in parks and windows, and that's fine. i never expected that to be the end. i did hope that the end would include Hanna making some kind of peace with Rosalee, badass and brutal as she is. i wouldn't have Rosalee any other way, because then she wouldn't be believable. she didn't have to melt like butter under Hanna's love, just soften the tiniest bit.

in conclusion, go read this book. i saw a (negative, unfortunately) review that said this book was a hot mess. i will agree, but that's what made it so good. nothing's perfect, and nothing's ever going to be perfect in Portero. what town is perfect?? what adult?? what teenager??

Bleeding Violet
is freakishly awesome. thank you, Dia Reeves. i can't wait for Slice of Cherry to come out in January.

also, i love Swan and Little Swan and Ragsie. like a splash of adorableness mixed in with the blood. :)

so, that was my first ever book review. i hope you like it. i hope Dia Reeves likes it, if she ever reads it (which would make me kinda nervous, eeeep). maybe i'll do another one in a couple of days.

(note: i bought this book back in July and reviewed it because i wanted to)