Saturday, January 29, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (10)

IMM is hosted over at The Story Siren by Kristi.

Slow week this week. More reading than getting new books to read, and more waiting. Waiting for books to come in the mail, especially when they're not out yet and I have no idea when they're going to get here, is nerve-wracking. Monday through Friday I stalk the mailbox and hope there's a package there addressed to me (it's Canada, no Saturday mail like in the US).

*sigh* Oh, well. Next week there will be more books. Going to the library on Friday. :)

Borrowed from library:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (e-book)

Got for free online:
Magyk by Angie Sage (e-book, free for a short time on Kobo website

You don't need an ereader for Kobo, or a smartphone. There's a desktop app. :)

Happy reading, people. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Me on Beautiful Darkness

Title: Beautiful Darkness
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 503 (Hardcover)

Before you continue reading, know that this might be a mixture of a review and me venting.

Okay, so. If you've read Beautiful Creatures, you know how big it is. It's huge, 563 pages long, and maybe as heavy as all get out (no idea where that came from). I was happy to find this one 60 pages shorter. Takes up less room on my bookcase. ;)

After finishing this book at about 1am, I found I both really loved it and really hated it. I've got a big love/hate relationship with this book.

I'll start with what I loved: no matter what happened, no matter how weird things got and how crazy characters acted, it still made me turn the page and continue reading. It was like a compulsion, or a drug. I had to know what happened next and I had to know right then before I went to bed.

The Caster world Kami and Margie have created is wicked. Different powers, Light and Dark, family feuds, Keepers (so awesome). It's world building at its finest. I can only imagine how many notebooks or Word files there are with all the Caster rules and types and powers and all the little fiddly bits we as the average reader don't know all about yet.

The relationship between Ethan and Lena is powerful, to say the least. They so can't be together, but Ethan forever tunes it out and goes after her time and time again. It's interesting, seeing what a guy will do to save the girl he loves. No book crush, I promise. Lena can keep him. ;)

And Liv. So cool, and so British. Just what Gatlin needs. ;)

Okay, what bugged me/bothered me/what I hated: the fact that Ethan and Lena had this massive break up and a huge mess of crap had to happen with them apart. Lena so needs Ethan, but Ripley and this new guy John Breed shows up and all hell breaks loose. I wanted to scream at Lena through the pages, but it wasn't meant to be. Yes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but this was outrageous. I still want to beat the crap out of this book.


But, and this goes back to what I also love about the book, the evil was so evil and so manipulative and so 'I don't give a flying &%#@^*&%^$#@@$ what these people think cause I'm evil and I'm going to rule the world and totally use everyone I can to get what I want.' Everything was necessary to move the book along in weird twisty complicated ways (holy crap, Ethan's mom *weird look*). Everything had to happen, even when I totally wanted to punch Ripley right in her lollipop (not a euphemism) and nail John Breed right between the... eyes (or somewhere else).

It was torture, reading this 500 page monster. I hated it so much.

I loved it. It's awesome.

*sigh* I'm not going to survive book 3 and then the wait for book 4. If your books give me a heart attack, Kami and Margie, you owe me a pie. A big one. ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Me on Flash Reviews (1)

Last night I was all torn on what book to review that I read recently. Mostly because there's weren't any I totally loved. I really need to review Ally Condie's Matched because I really enjoyed it and thought it was interesting and can't wait for books 2 and 3 (this November and next November).

These are some quick reviews of books I've read in the past week or so, mostly because they averaged about 3 out of 5 stars for me, which is still good. 2's and 1's are garbage. 3's are good. 4's are really good/great. 5's are awesome. Most of these books were a 3 for me. :)

So, these are reviews of books I read in the past week and a half, all YA, some I bought on giant discount ($4 for a $17 book) and some borrowed from the library downtown.

Sucks to be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire by Kimberly Pauley: Funny. I liked how personal it was, the journal aspect. Mina's confusion and anger at the beginning and then her struggles and secret-keeping throughout the book were believable. So funny, too. This is a vampire YA book that's not gory and bloody but very funny, like a teen comedy movie. Hey, it probably would make a good teen comedy movie. Can someone get on this?? ;)

Secret Society by Tom Dolby: A blog reader/follower asked if I could review this, so this might be a little longer. This book was on my list for a little while. Secret society with secret meetings and rituals and stuff? Sure, why not? Then I finally found this book and cringed at some of the reviews I saw online. I liked it, but not totally loved it. It was very secret society in New York City involving teens and their rich parents and all their money and power and entitled opinions. I liked Phoebe the most, she was new and artsy and not mega rich or jaded or snooty. The twists were interesting, the end wasn't one of those 'I saw this coming a mile away' ends (not to me). I thought it was good. :)

The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block: A werewolf YA first person teen girl so confused at what she's become book. It was a different take on werewolves, but I just thought it was okay. I'm not sure what bothered me or what didn't pull me in. I don't want to be mean, but this was why it was a good library borrow. I didn't hate it. I thought it was okay.

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston: An interesting plot premise. Henry, a werewolf/wolf, is living in a halfway house type place cause his dad is the wolf that killed Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. It's not a cutesy fairy tale book, more like a vaguely fairy tale-related book about this guy doing some weird and dangerous stuff in a dingy town book for teen guys kind of book. Try this book out on teen guys. They might like it.

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus: This book has been on my list for months and the library finally got it on the shelves. The summary drew me in, then turned into a book I didn't quite expect. I thought it would be more about Phe and her sister and secret ghost messages and less the paranormal-ish abilities of some of the townspeople and the instantly drawn to Phe cute guy. I think I'll reread this book one day.

If any of these quick blurby reviews make you want to read any of these books, visit your local library. If you really enjoy the book, then consider buying it. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (11)

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts Waiting on Wednesday every week. :)

It's been getting hard to pick books, especially when some don't have covers yet. ;)

Title: Witches of East End
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

On Goodreads:

The two novels will follow the lives of the Beauchamp girls, who live in the fictional town of North Hampton, as they struggle to stop an arch nemesis and restore the delicate balance between good and evil. De la Cruz will weave characters from her best-selling Blue Bloods young adult series into this new paranormal series for adults.

I've been an avid reader of Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series for years. It was something different for me after reading Twilight, more like vampires mixed with Gossip Girl, which I've never read or watched but I think I've got the main idea of what it's about. Blue Bloods added something extra for me. Maybe it was the past life/vaguely colonial feel the first couple books had, maybe it was the 'used to be angels up in Heaven before the fall' idea. I'm not quite sure, but her books still have me reading them and waiting maybe not so patiently for the next one. Now this adult series is coming out that's connected, and then the Wolf Pact books about Bliss looking for werewolves. I'll be reading de la Cruz's books for years. :)

Title: Possession
Author: Elana Johnson
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

On Goodreads:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

2011 seems to be the year of the dystopian YA novel, but it does sound interesting. And the cover is so pretty. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (9)

IMM is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every week. :)

Hello, blog people. :) It was a quiet week over here. Some snow in the middle, but it was okay. Not totally book-filled, but I did get some reading done. Reviews were posted (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and The Replacement) and my first ever author guest post went up where 2010 debut author Mindi Scott talked about writing in a guy frame of mind when you're a girl.

And here are the books I got this week.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Hollow by Jessica Verday (ebook version for reading on my Kobo)

Received from the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab (for review??):
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz (eGalley)

The S&S Galley Grab is in the beta stage so there isn't a whole lot explained when you sign up. I had to do a little Twitter searching before I learned that once you sign up you get the one galley then I'm guessing at the beginning of every month a newsletter comes with a few galleys for you to download (I saw the January newsletter had Wither and Red Glove available). I'm mostly happy that they don't seem to care if you live in the US or in Canada or the UK or wherever. Plus you get access to it until the release date.

I think I'm going to e-mail them on Monday, ask a question or two. My impression was that you're supposed to review it then send S&S your review, but they don't really talk about this. Hmmm.

Maybe this will also get me to start requesting on NetGalley.

Side Note: Jess (who is @JessRing84 on Twitter and really cool and a film/screenwriting student) and I have been looking for someone who might've grabbed an extra ARC of Wolfsbane at the ALA Midwinter meeting, or just got an extra one in general, or is okay with lending it to us for a little while. Jess lives in the US & I'm in Canada, so shipping might not totally hurt. If you don't have one or have promised it to someone else, it's no problem. We're just wondering. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Me on The Replacement

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Pages: 343 (Hardcover)

Isn't the cover just bizarre and spooky?? I know, it's awesome. ;)
Mackie Doyle isn't like other teens in Gentry. He can't stand to be in a car, he can't be inside a church, and he gets sick when he smells blood. Not human, Mackie is instead a Replacement, a creature who was left in a human baby's crib 16 years ago, a creature from the dark world full of death and magic and horror that is hidden under Gentry. His allergies to consecrated ground, iron, and blood are slowly killing him when he wants desperately to live. When another baby goes missing and is replaced by something dark and horrifying, Mackie is pulled back into the world he came from, the world under the Slag Heap, the world known as Mayhem ruled by a frightening little girl called the Morrigan.

Haunting and chilling, this book has a way of getting under your skin, revealing the horrors that people turn their backs on. Gentry is dying, filled with people who ignore what's strange and different. Mackie's own parents know what he is, know that their son was stolen from them and replaced by this frail creature, but they moved on with their life. The same can't be said for Tate, a girl whose own baby sister was taken and replaced. Her brutal and honest attitude, her take no crap and find the answers take on life fuels her anger, as well as her need for Mackie to head into the other world to find out what happened.

Contrary to Gentry, the world of Mayhem is thriving, inhabited by walking, rotting dead girls and otherworldly creatures. Mackie's return to them is nothing short of a miracle, even when he walks right into a decades old war between the Morrigan and her sister, a far more evil and dangerous creature.

Mackie as a character was genius. He was tortured, by his allergies, by his human family (maybe not Emma, she still loves him), by his 'actual' family. He's also so strong, braving the dark worlds of Mayhem and Misery to find Tate's sister and confront the darkest side of the secret world below Gentry.

The Replacement is one of those books that slips quietly into your brain and works its way under your skin. So haunting but so beautiful, so full of dark secrets, dark creatures, dark memories, and the desire to survive and find a place to belong.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Post: Mindi Scott on Writing Like A Guy

Okay, I officially now have some kind of writer crush on Mindi Scott, author of the heartwrenching contemporary debut Freefall. Mindi rocks for doing this guest post, and looks so pretty in this picture I found on her website. ;) I had a few suggestions and went with how it was writing a book in first person when you're a girl & your narrator's a guy, which she jumped all over. :)

And so, here's Mindi on writing like a guy.

With a name like “Mindi,” people have zero expectation that I was ever a teenage boy.  However!  Numerous readers have told me that Seth in Freefall was written so convincingly that if my name hadn’t already given it away, they never would have guessed that I’m not a male.

When I first imagined the characters for Freefall, I fully expected that I would tell their story from the girl’s point of view.  After all, I’m a girl and I’d written girl characters before.  But then I had this flash of inspiration and thought: No. I’m going to try to write the boy!

It started out as an experiment, but I now believe that it was the best choice I could have made for my writing. 

On July 14, 2006, I sat down and put these first words into a notebook:

I saw her crying.  Great gulping sobs, tears dripping down her face and plopping on her white blouse.  Her face was bright red and screwed into a mask of misery.  She was very ugly when she cried—which made her even more beautiful to me.

All right.  So, um, that isn’t very good, I know.  A screwed face? What?

If you’ve already read the book, you know that this sounds nothing like Seth.  (You also know that this witnessing-crying thing happens in a scene on pages 98 through 100. La la la.)  If you haven’t read the book, just know, this sounds nothing like Seth!

Somehow, I actually liked what I’d written well enough to keep going.  I thought my boy protagonist was funny and clever and cool.  My husband read my scenes and said, “This is supposed to be a guy?  Maybe you should read aloud what you’ve written here.”

My writing classmates said, “I’m not buying that this is a boy.  Plus, he’s a jerk.”

My instructor said, “You’re not ready for this. You should write this story from the girl’s point of view.”

These comments?  They really upset me.  But I refused to give up. I knew that I could write this kid.  I needed time.  I needed to practice.  I had a long way to go, but this was a challenge from which I refused to back down. I WAS GOING TO SHOW THEM ALL!

I read lots of young adult novels written from male perspectives to determine what worked for me as a reader.  I had my husband check out every scene as I finished writing it so he could point out the lines that stuck out as too feminine.  I focused on what would make Seth sound like a real guy and what would make him sound like his own unique self.  I became best friends with my thesaurus and I used it non-stop to make sure I was finding the right word in each and every sentence instead of ever allowing myself to fall back on my own voice and point of view.  I stayed away from phrases like “mask of misery” because those just weren’t Seth. 

It took a lot of effort to get it right.  Eventually, though, Seth’s voice came naturally to me.  I stopped focusing on boyness and instead paid attention to Sethness.  That was a big deal when I got to that point.

I can honestly say that writing a teenage boy was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever taught myself to do.  And, you know, I never would have expected to say this, but I’m kind of glad that I received such harsh criticisms of my earliest attempts at writing this character.  Had that not been the case, I’m not sure that I would have tried so hard to turn this boy from my imagination into one whom many readers now find to be believable and relatable. And that means that I wouldn't have learned what I needed to learn in order to make all my characters moving forward (I hope) believable and relatable as well.  So, really, it all worked out in the finish!

If you want more of Mindi, you can find her on Twitter, or her website, or just go and read her book Freefall. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (10)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted every week by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Day Before
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse

On Goodreads:

Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now--he's living each moment like it's his last.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed Chasing Brooklyn, and so when I heard there was a new book by Lisa Schroeder coming out, I saw this and instantly put it on my list. And after reading the summary, don't you just want to know what happens the next day? I do. So much. ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Me on Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 280 (Hardcover)

This was my first foray into a Rachel Cohn/David Levithan co-written book, and I'll totally admit that I was half-intrigued by the summary and half-intrigued by the cover. It just seemed so fun and urban and happy and winter-y, and I don't usually go for those kinds of books, but then the summary pulled me in and I was all, that sounds so funny.

If you're looking for a quick and easy light, happy, fun, crazy teen romance at Christmas in New York, then give this book a try. :)

Dash is alone at Christmas and wandering through the Strand, the famous bookstore in downtown New York, when he finds a red Moleskine notebook with some challenges in it. It's been left there by a girl named Lily, who is also alone at Christmas (sort of, even though she's got family all over the city and her brother is hiding out in his room with his new boyfriend). She's been looking for someone to play her notebook dare game with, and after discovering someone has taken her up on her offer, she starts to discover Dash, even if he doesn't really come out and tell her his name.

As he tells her in the notebook, "My name is a connector of words." Snarky but genius. Pure Dash. As is the snarly description.

Dash is hugely intelligent (who else but a word nerd would want the whole Oxford English Dictionary?) but he seems alone, drifting through the city while his divorced parents are off with their new significant others to enjoy the holiday. Taking up Lily's red notebook of dares satisfies his boredom and introduces him to someone new and interesting, someone he probably wouldn't have met otherwise. Unless they bumped into each other at the Strand. ;)

Lily is bubbly and fun and happy and loves Christmas but she's lonely, too. Her parents are off on a second honeymoon, her brother's too busy spending his time with his new boyfriend to do anything holiday related with her, and her grandfather's off in Florida to propose to his girlfriend. The moment Dash takes her up on her book of dares, she's pulled into a quasi-relationship and when she gets the book back, tries to figure out who this snarly boy is (because there's no way she would've met him as school: all girls school).

After days of communicating through the notebook, the time for them to meet face to face comes, but they're not sure if they want to, if they'll be the same in person as they are on the page.

I love books like this that involve almost meetings and wandering around cities (especially cities I haven't been to) and meeting friends of the other person (oh, Boomer) and actual meetings that are nowhere near what was expected and sweet romances in the winter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is hosted every week by Kristi at The Story Siren. :)

Kinda surprised at how many books I got this week, but some are library books. Plus I've still got some from last week that I haven't read yet, so it's all good. ;)

City of Bones, City of Ashes, & City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Borrowed from the library:
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

Won (giveaway hosted by the author for signed copies & bookmarks):
Bleeding Violet & Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

What did you guys get this week? :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Me on Slice of Cherry

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

If you've seen my Bleeding Violet review, then you won't be surprised that I'm reviewing Dia Reeves' second 'weird creepy horror-ish kinda paranormal with a bit of romance in a weird town in Texas that I wish was real' book Slice of Cherry. (I got this book from Dia Reeves, actually, winning a giveaway on her blog for a signed copy of each Bleeding Violet and Slice of Cherry, plus some bookmarks.)

The book takes place in Portero, Texas, the town where monsters live and some really creepy stuff happens, but everyone finds it normal. Our main characters are Kit and Fancy Cordelle, close sisters and the daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, a serial killer.

Kit and Fancy aren't your average girls: they don't really socialize with other teens, they listen to old-fashioned music, and when someone (read: sort of a sick fan of their father's) breaks into their house, they start to give in to their desire to kill people. But they're not senseless murderers, they only kill those who deserve it, possible rapists and child abusers, and knowing that a drop of blood would send them to jail, Fancy discovers a brand new world through an invisible doorway that opens up so many possibilities.

Kit and Fancy were very interesting characters. Kit was the leader, Fancy the follower, but as the book progressed Fancy seemed to take over for me, being the one who takes them and their victims to paradise and giving them their just desserts. Kit was more of a normal teenage girl, hormones gone nuts for boys, and possibly a little bloodthirsty. Fancy was different, she seemed a bit more childish at the beginning, using Kit as her shield from the world, using Kit so she'd feel like a whole person, and she didn't come out of her shell until Madda forced her and Kit out into the world over the summer. Which brings the sisters into contact with the Turner brothers, Ilan and Gabriel. It's so fitting, two brothers, two sisters. If only Kit and Fancy's father hadn't been accused of killing the boys' dad years earlier. Oops. ;)

And even more weird Portero stuff happens.

It was what I expected from Dia Reeves, given how bizarre Bleeding Violet was, but I wasn't bored reading it. Weird monsters and creatures and secrets of Portero and girls who aren't afraid of a little blood here and there and have some kind of weird ability. You're totally thrown straight into Kit and Fancy's house, their room, their world, their macabre desire to kill.

Slice of Cherry was a great book 2 in what I hope will be a longer group of books that takes place in Portero, Texas. It's a really messed up town, but it's weird and gross and confusing and secret and fun. It's not your average YA paranormal/horror book, more like a bloody smack in the face, but it's so awesome. Life and death, family, relationships, choices and consequences, faith in yourself and your abilities, being able to let someone you love live their own life. Sure, there's some blood here and there, but don't let that bother you. It's another book about people who are interested in things that aren't so normal, so regular, things that have a little darkness in them. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Just make sure you wear goggles if you stab someone in the neck. Safety first. ;)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Find more Waiting on Wednesday fun at Breaking the Spine and say hi to Jill. Hi, Jill. :)

Title: Ripple
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Release Date: July 21, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Pages: 300 (Paperback)

From Goodreads:

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims. If she succumbs, she kills. If she doesn’t, the pain is unbearable. To keep herself and those she cares about safe, she shuts herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love—again. Because the last time she fell in love with a boy, he ended up dead.

Then Lexi meets Cole. Against her better judgment, she finds herself opening up again, falling in love when she knows she shouldn’t. But when she’s offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free of her curse is giving him up.

In Ripple, Mandy Hubbard spins a sea-ravaged tale of melancholy beauty, and the choices one girl makes between land and waves, love and freedom, her future—and her heart.

Cover so pretty. Girl kinda messed up. Guy who she falls for. Sea-ravaged tale. So cool.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Me on Hunger

Title: Hunger
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: October 18, 2010
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia
Pages: 180 (Paperback)

Summary from Goodreads: 

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

I'm not quite sure when I first heard about this book, but I know when I picked it up. It was on my 'drive 3 and a half hours to see Mindi Scott' trip last October. And I think I grabbed the only copy they had on the shelves, too. ;)

It's a very moving and powerful book, almost the same in terms of how Lisa Schroeder's Chasing Brooklyn hit me when I read it. It's a short book, less than 200 pages, but there's so much packed into it. The premise is incredible, turning a damaged and emotionally fragile anorexic teen girl into one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Linking her new position with her eating disorder is genius. It shoves her fragile state and link to starvation and hunger right into her face, as well as the reader's. As Famine, Lisa is forced to see what her eating disorder is doing to her, and how there are people in the world starving, but not because they choose to. It's incredibly thought provoking, thinking about hunger and food and starvation in different ways all over the world.

The book is gritty, which is good. Anorexia and other eating disorders don't need to be glamourized and treated as get thin quick solutions. The fact that is is so real, and mixes in the whole life and death aspect of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse idea, means the book might stick around in your head long after you read it.

I wasn't anorexic or bulemic in high school, but like most teen girls I did battle against my weight. This book was hard for me to read because it reminded me how much weight and appearance meant in high school, how often I thought about it. It sucks. Teen girls shouldn't have to spend every waking moment worrying about eating less and exercising more and throwing up and counting calories, but that's an area of high school and our teen years that, unfortunately, pops up and grabs hold of us.

If you want a character that starts off at rock bottom and learns to fight for her right to live, then you'll love Lisa and you'll love Hunger. I'm looking forward to the next book, Rage, about a girl who cuts herself.

So, a short review, but I'm not sure what else I can say about this book besides to not be surprised when it moves you. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (7)

IMM is hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

A contrast to the weeks before Christmas: lots of books. :D I'm all warm with book happiness. You may be wondering, why so many books? Well, some were on sale, I had a gift card from my birthday, and I had a $5 off coupon thing. You would've gone nuts, too. ;)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (read my slightly gushing about the awesomeness review here) ;)
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Secret Society by Tom Dolby
Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire by Kimberly Pauley
Devil at Midnight by Emma Holly
Angel at Dawn by Emma Holly
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

I've been thinking of doing a video version of IMM one week instead of pictures, but I imagine there'd be lots of editing & fixing & rerecording & not being a total dork. ;) Happy reading. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Me on Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 372 (Hardcover)

Another contemporary YA book of Fall/Winter 2010/11. It's very interesting, how reading tastes change over time. In high school, I read a lot of romance novels (some paranormal, some contemporary, some trashy, some Harlequin). In the past 2 years, I've slowly moved into reading more YA. I still read paranormal YA, I re-read Hush, Hush last night, but the contemporary books are slowly creeping their way into my book pile.

Mostly because of how awesome the story is. :)

Anna is no different. Anna Oliphant is shipped off by her divorced parents to spend her senior year in Paris, away from her family, friends, and potential crush in Atlanta. She doesn't want to go to Paris, mostly because her father's a jerk and she doesn't speak a word of French. Well, maybe she knows oui and merci, but that's pretty much it. But, and there is a but, what (or who) changes her mind about the City of Lights: a breathtakingly handsome French (with a British accent & born in America) classmate, √Čtienne St. Clair, who comes complete with a girlfriend who goes to a different school.

Okay, so, you might think it sounds cheesy and predictable, but the book is full of first times (for Anna learning all about how Paris doesn't suck and is actually a blast), of almost and near-misses, of laughter and new friends, and of course, romance and kissing. Who doesn't like kissing, especially when the guy has a British accent?? *swoon* ;)

I really liked Anna. She was emotional but not overwhelming. She was funny and smart, she enjoyed films and reviewed them instead of just watching them like lots of teens (and she liked older films, too). She made it her job to be friends with St. Clair and to focus on a possible crush back home, which is very mature of her. Sure, she could've spent the year drooling all over him like every other girl in the school, but that's not Anna.

Until she realized she was in love with him. Crap. And so she had to figure out what to do next, and determine if he was still with his girlfriend, considering how much time St. Clair spent with her (and sometimes their friends).

This book is like a rollercoaster, it goes up and down, loops around, dips and confuses you, and ends with a bang. A nice bang, mind you. The characters were funny and smart, Paris comes off as a glorious adventure full of architecture and history and magic, and the romance was sweet without being obvious or overwhelming. Sure, it's a YA book that's obviously got a bunch of romance in it, but Anna and St. Clair only account for about two-thirds of it. The rest is all Paris. *sigh* I'd love to go to Paris one day.

In short, even if you don't like contemporary chick lit YA romance, at least give it a try. It was a wonderful and fun debut by Stephanie Perkins. I'm not sure if I can stand to wait for her next books Lola and the Boy Next Door (Sept. 29, 2011) and Isla and the Happily Ever After (Fall 2012), companion books to Anna.

And I think Stephanie Perkins has great hair. Blue streaks on red? Great choice. ;)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted every week by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Back from Christmas, reading the few new books I have while waiting on others in the mail. I don't think the world wants me to read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (they must know how much I want it), but with any luck (pffft) it'll come in the mail today. *crossing my fingers*

And now, here are the first books I'm waiting for in 2011. :)

Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater.

In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Werewolves. Romance. Actually shifting and changing forms. It's going to be awesome. Linger left me hanging with its ending, and I can't wait to read about what happens to Grace and Sam.

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352 (hardcover)

From Goodreads:

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah’s world stopped that day and she’s been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah’s longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?

I was surprised when I first read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and found it so compelling and interesting. For me, zombies were either comical or gross, not this strange moaning creature, unable to speak, shuffling through a dead world through forests, kept from the living by fences and guards in what I imagine to be a post-apocalyptic but somehow colonial setting. Possibly futuristic but no computers or microchips.

Happy Wednesday, peoples. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (6)

IMM is hosted every week at The Story Siren. :)

So, I haven't done one of these since the 5th of December, but that was because I held back on getting any new books and waited for Christmas. Of course, now I'm kicking myself for not just ordering Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss for myself right when it came out. There might've been a couple of copies in a couple of bookstores up here in Canada, but last I saw Chapters (the big chain, like Borders) doesn't have it and says 'usually ships within 1 to 2 months.' But I ordered a copy on the 27th so it should get here sometime this week. If it doesn't, I might go insane.

So, here are the books I've gotten over the past couple of weeks. :)

Evermore by Alyson Noel
Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (not YA, but I loved the prequel short story)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs (not pictured cause it's a library e-book)

Oh, and then there's the Kobo. I got surprised on Christmas with a Kobo e-reader. And it's got about 100 free e-books. Mostly classics, but it means I can read e-books from the library on it. Yay. :)

Here's to 2011. :D

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Me on Books I Wish I Read in 2010

Sure, I read over 100 books in 2010 (about 120), but there were so many that came out that I wanted to read. Here's a snippit of some I wish I could've read if I had the time/money/sense/whatever. :)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I'm kicking myself so hard for not getting this book the moment it came out, or even pre-ordering it. It sounds so good, and just about everyone who's read it seems to love it. I have ordered it, it's on it's way, but it'll be a 2011 read for me. *sad face* ;)

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain. Sure, it only came out a few days ago, but it was at the bookstore yesterday and I could've bought it. Soon. :)

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I really enjoyed Beautiful Creatures, but I keep putting off getting this and reading it. *sigh* so many good books to read this year.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. A werewolf book and I didn't read it? Scandal. ;)

Darklight by Lesley Livingston. Lesley's Canadian. What else do I have to say? ;) Well, I did enjoy book 1 of this series, and book 3 just came out. Should've picked this up yesterday at the bookstore.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. Yes, this book is on my list. It's been a while since I read good sci-fi, and while this isn't exactly sci-fi (like how Beth Revis' Across the Universe is sci-fi), it still sounds good.

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder. I haven't read her Study books, or the Glass ones, but this one just sounds interesting.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It sounds creepy and weird, but I've heard it really cuts deep and is really emotional. And second person is bizarre to write in, so I imagine it'll be interesting to read in.

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick. I'm not sure why I want to read this book. It just sounds interesting and compelling, like Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden. Both are books I want to read. Can you imagine being trapped between two siblings, two twins, when one's a guy and one's a girl? And have the book as mostly dialogue? Whoa.

*sigh* Maybe I'll get to read these this year. ;)