Wednesday, December 31, 2008
In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg (October 16th, 2008)
Grade: 1.9 stars out of 5
Summary: “Molly and Charlie have fallen head over heels in love—even though they’ve never met Molly is a fashion-conscious city girl in L.A. Charlie is an earthy, mountain-biking dude from Boulder, Colorado. Each of them has big plans with their respective friends for the summer—until they discover that their parents decided to swap houses!
Luckily there’s no amount of homesickness that a bit of snooping can’t cure. Charlie and Molly begin crawling under beds and poking around in closets to find out a little more about each other and they like what they find.
Can Charlie and Molly’s long-distance romance survive jealousy, misunderstandings and the thousand miles between them?"
Overall: I did enjoy this book, but it wasn’t something truly AMAZING! to me. I loved how Charlie’s parents are lesbian—a very nice surprise since as how I haven’t seen this done before. I liked the way the author incorporated modern things like Facebook and such into the novel. I thought the alternating points of views and chapters were a nice way to showcase both of their personalities and traits, especially since it gives the readers a positive message about spending some time outdoors and going biking.
What I would’ve liked was a bit more pages for the resolution between the fight with Molly and Charlie. Thought it was over too fast. A very quick summer read.
Something about this cover throws me off a little. Maybe it’s the angle where the photograph was shot, or the color of the rug.
Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel (September 4th 2007)
Grade: 3.7 stars out of 5
Summary: “In Alyson Noël's newest teen novel, one sister's secrets save the other's life--in more ways than one. Meet fifteen-year-old Echo, a typical teen trying to survive high school without being totally traumatized by boy trouble, friend drama, and school issues. As if she didn't have enough on her plate, Echo is also still dealing with the murder of her sister Zoë. Although it's been over a year, Echo is still reeling from tragedy that changed everything. Beautiful and full of life, Zoë was the glue that held her family together, and although the two sisters were as different as night and day, they still had a bond that Echo can't let go of. When Zoë's old boyfriend Marc shows up one day with Zoë's diary, Echo doesn't think there's anything in there she doesn't already know. But as she gives in to curiosity and starts reading, she learns that her sister led a secret life that no one could have guessed--not even Echo.”
Overall: Ms. Noel has redeemed herself to me! After the initial read of Cruel Summer, I was very hesitant about reading some of her other books, but I do stand corrected. She is a phenomenal writer! I love the way how the emotions build and build until it finally collapses and you’re left with a completed feeling. I loved Echo and Zoë (even their names!). How you can relate and understand them even Zoë which you only catch glimpses of from her diary. I adore the ending, very cute and symbolic. My only problem of the novel was how it never did truly explain Zoë’s death.
Cover C: Not really understanding the whole purpose of the three girls on the cover. I’m assuming that they are Echo and her best friends, but they don’t play a huge significance in the book except for Echo.
I hope you love this novel as much as I do Sharon! I'm seriously considering taking it back once you've finished though, it's that good! But I won't because that'll be mean :]
I might plan on extending both of these reviews but for now, I can't come up with enough points.
Grade: 2 stars out of 5
Short Summary: Penelope Jane or PJ as she likes to be called is an enigma to everyone from the start. But what is she really hiding behind that gorgeous face?
Olivia, a born dancer, is aiming for a scholarship in this stunning city. Dancing is her passion and dream but what is she willing to give up as the result?
Alex has what all the girls want—beauty, wealth, passion and strive. But can this cool calm and collected fashionista survive in this bustling city?
Zack, a regular boy from Memphis, has captured the eyes and hearts of many girls but who really is his type?
Review: Told in four different points of view, this novel showcases Lucy Silag’s versatility in manipulating her characters. Each one has their own unique personalities that will never get you confused on who’s who.
Olivia: She was definitely not one of the stronger characters. Gave no real lasting impression whatsoever but I did quite enjoy reading her relationships. It gave a little scandal and excitement to the book. I also like her determination, I think she may be the only one who gave an actually reason to be in France!
Alex: Okay so I DID NOT like reading about her. I had to force myself to just read her, a real pain in the butt. From her thievery to her whiny/bitchy attitude to almost everything in general, I wanted to just rip the pages from the book. That’s how much I didn’t like reading about her.
At the very beginning she wanted to find love that was understandable. But as it progressed, I got all the feeling that all she wanted was sex. It was plainly obvious that he held no interest in her emotional but her conceitedness blind sighted her and she resorted to thievery of clothing. So I felt no pity towards her when she got dumped.
PJ: Annoying. That’s all I can sum her up as. As self-dependent as she tried to be I find her needing more help than anyone else. Her constant want for her sister, her sister’s boyfriend, and to be liked gave me another character that I had to force myself to read. I also thought that the mystery aspect of her, in her sister’s disappearance and her parent’s arrest, were both unneeded. I guess it gave PJ depth and reason to be in France but after reading the entire book, we’re still stuck with the same information from the very beginning of the novel!
Zack: I LOVE Zack. If any of you have ever watched Project Runway season 4, he is so much like Christian Siriano! And I adore him! From his snarky/spunky attitude and his critiques to all that is fashion to his emotional baggage of his sexuality, I wanted more! I even enjoyed reading Alex more through his point of view, that is how much I love him! He alone made reading this book so worthwhile.
Overall: I was expecting fireworks in the skies of the night but instead I got sparklers in the glow of the afternoon. Very disappointed with the book since I had such high expectations. I’ll be looking forward to the sequel but I probably won’t rush out to get it once it’s been released.
I love the background and the color scheme to it. I love the font and style to it as well. What I did not understand was how there were only three columns. I’m guessing the first is Alex, second is Olivia, and third is Zack. What happened to PJ? Is she so mysterious and elusive that she wasn’t included in the cover?
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky (September 23rd 2008)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary from inside cover:
"Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.
Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.
And then came the fall. "
Review: I loved how the relationship developed from the small crush to the almost obsession. It definitely was not a small glimpse as to what some other authors offer but the entire novel devoted to just the relationship. It showcased all the needed aspects of the sacrifices that love needs but also the joys that it can give.
This book shows you how it not only affects you but the others around you as well—your parents, your best friend, and others that are close to you. The devoted parents, how they ask and respond to the questions that Dominique has. The best friend, a very strong minded character indeed!, who shares her wisdom, though limited, to help Dominique and how she comforts her in the end. And don’t forget the bitter grandmother who belittles Dominique constantly who had lost her joy when her husband past away, a wonderful side character that gave a lasting impression to me.
I also quite enjoy the ending to it as well. It gives off a realistic outcome—that first love doesn’t always have to work. The separation through college was a nice way to do so, again realistic, as well as the break up, through IM no less!
Here’s my issue with the book though. I thought the love for Wes grew a little bit to the obsessive side but now that it has time to sink in, I think that it seems perfectly reasonable as it was her first crush/love/boyfriend. As in many cases first love is an unknown battleground that you’re not sure you’ll survive, giving yourself up to one person can cause a real scare to some especially to young teenagers. But, my main issue has to be the sex in this book. At first I thought okay, that’s a relatively used topic in most teen books but then it got a little graphic and I got concerned. About a small portion of the book talked and described about sex so I guess the reader can easily skip this section. Remember though, it can be a bit too graphic for the younger audiences.
Overall: I thought this was a very nice book about first love. At first when I just finished reading it, I wanted to give it away as soon as possible but after the initial shock value, it sinks in. I’ll contemplate about this book for a bit longer but for now, it’s going to stay on my bookshelf.
I love the little captions pointing to the body parts. Especially since in the actual book Dominique talks about these part in a rather better light, so that was quite ironic and humorous to me.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
If anyone has been reading my update section at my sidebar, you would have noticed the line, "interview with Courtney Summers" posted up there quite some time ago. Well guess what! It's here! So I'd love to introduce the awesome Courtney Summers!
My review can be found here.
To purchase your own copy of Cracked Up To Be go to Amazon
What were some inspirations for your book?
The book was definitely inspired by the question, "What is the worst thing you've ever done?" And it was also really inspired by people--girls in particular--who aren't afraid to tell it like it is, especially at the expense of being seen as nice. I really, really wanted to write a female character who was incredibly abrasive and basically mean--before and after a traumatic experience--and see if she could carry the story I had in mind.
What was hardest part of the novel to write?
From the end of page 126 all the way to page 128. I gave away everything too soon and it took me a little while to realize it, which = days of stalled writing, which = frustrated Courtney!
What motivates you to write?
I love telling stories, plain and simple. :)
Do you listen to music while you write?
Yes! I love to listen to music while I write. It really locks me in, and if I have to leave a scene partway through writing it, I can come back, put on the song I was listening to while I was writing it and it helps me get back into the headspace I need to continue writing.
What is on your current playlist?
I've had the Twilight soundtrack and score in constant rotation, Beyonce has gotten some play time (If I Were a Boy is AWESOME--that music video is fierce, in my humble opinion), some Lily Allen (is her new album out yet???), lots of Matthew Good (The Audio of Being)...
How has the road to publication been?
It's been a total adventure--a really fun rollercoaster ride that I feel incredibly fortunate to be on.
Do you think bloggers helped a lot in publicizing Cracked Up To Be?
YES. Oh, yes, definitely x 1,000. I'm so grateful to book bloggers like yourself who have taken the time to point people in the Cracked Up to Be's direction. From Waiting on Wednesday posts to reading the book, to reviewing it, to giving me the opportunity to be interviewed (thank you for this interview, Yan!)--it all helps in getting the word out. And when you take into consideration that there's no shortage of YA novels out there, and that many reviewers are inundated with reading material, I realize I'm not entitled to any blogger's time, so I definitely don't take it for granted when they decide to give their time to my book, regardless or whether or not they like it in the end. I really appreciate it. Book bloggers rock!
Do you read the reviews?
I do. I don't comment on them, though, because I worry I could inhibit any potential discussion.
Do you like the cover of Cracked Up To Be? If not, what would you have changed?
I love the cover! I wouldn't change a thing. There's so much green on it, and I have a mad love affair with the colour green so it's all good.
Do you have any future books planned?
Yep! My next book, Some Girls Are (title may possibly change), will be coming out in Winter 2010. It's about vicious nasty mean girls. Fun times, fun times.
...and this random question because I simply adore Bailey...
Are you a cat or dog person?
Neither! I am a bird and degu person. :) But if I had to choose, a dog person definitely.
What are some of your favorite books from 2008?
I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin. It's a brilliant, breathtaking, HEARTBREAKING (all in capitals!) story about saying goodbye even while certain unexpected events are holding you together and the prose is just knock-you-off-your-feet amazing. It's the kind of book you want to hug when you're done reading it because it's just that good. Skin Deep by E.M. Crane is another one that got me--it's this very, very intense novel about a painfully shy girl trying to find her place in the world and every time you read a page you can feel your chest getting tighter and tighter--it's really beautifully written. Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning by Danette Haworth was the absolutely sweetest book I read this year and Violet one of the most memorable protagonists. Soulless by Christopher Golden was AWESOME zombie fun, and I'm a big zombie fan so that's high praise.
What are some books that you can't wait for in 2009?
One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, The Line by Teri Hall, Far from You by Lisa Schroeder (which is out now, but, like Cracked Up to Be, is technically a January 2009 release), The Book of the Maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse, Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan, Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin (okay, that's a December 2008 release, but I won't be able to get to it until the new year so I'm putting it here!) and Evermore by Alyson Noel, to name a few.
What are some of your all time favorite books?
Anything Robert Cormier has written has a guaranteed spot as one of my favourite books of all time. The man is a genius. My all-time favourite book that I read this year is In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami. But warning: In the Miso Soup is not a YA book and it has some EXTREME gore in it that's not for everyone but--it. Is. Amazing. Quiet, suspenseful, unputdownable. A dark and gritty look at loneliness and the human condition. I adore that book like crazy.
How big/extensive is your book collection?
Big enough that I need more bookshelves and, consequently, some (okay, a lot) of my books have found a temporary home in my closet until I can make this happen. *shame*
Got any new books from the holidays? Gave any away?
I was gifted the Twilight series. Which is awesome. It has brought me much joy. I ended up giving away a lot of copies of Cracked Up to Be this year!
What is biggest accomplishment of 2008?
Definitely seeing Cracked Up to Be in print.
What was the most memorable moment this year (besides getting your book published) to you?
Selling Some Girls Are was a very memorable moment. The book was really tough to write, and it came off the heels of a difficult time.
What is your funniest moment?
Uhmmm. Sometimes (okay, all the time), when I go through a drive-thru with someone, I say naughty words while they're placing their order in hopes that one of these naughty words will slip INTO their order. For example, "I would like a bacon double buttburger," or whatever. I do this because I guess drive-thrus bring out the obnoxious jerk in me? Anyway, it FINALLY happened this year when, at the Tim Horton's drive-thru, I got the person next to me (who shall remain nameless) to order an 'Ass Cap'. Technically, that wasn't *my* funniest moment but I found it hilarious and since I was directly responsible for it, I'm gonna say that counts.
Your New Year's resolution?
I don't do the New Year's resolution thing, really. Less chance of me breaking them that way!
What is your position with carolers? Love them; hate them; a strong desire to throw rocks at them?
LOVE THEM. We have a distinct lack of Christmas Carolers around these parts, but how can I begrudge/throw rocks at someone who wants to bring a little holiday cheer to the land? Keep rockin' it, Christmas Carolers!
Give her a round of applause people! Now go out and buy a copy of her amazing book! I command thee to!
Courtney's website, blog, goodreads
I would love some critiques on this interview. What could have been done better? Some of the good, or the bad? Be on the lookout for some more interviews!
Sidenote: the reason I wanted to ask about the carolers was because my friend had told me that she would be caroling this holiday. I had asked her to stop by my house that evening...so I can throw rocks at her from my window. She gave me this look so I quickly added that I'll draw little pink hearts on the rocks though! She just gave me this weak awkward laugh...of course she never did show up during the holidays to sing. I love carolers, don't get me wrong! It was just something I said to ease the boredom of which is called pre-calculus.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The Devouring by Simon Holt
(September 1st 2008)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
From inside cover: “When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life.
To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?”
Review: Engrossing and cultivating, this book had me sitting up straighter and opening my eyes wider from page to page. One moment it’s 4pm and the next it’s 6pm and I’m two thirds done the book, and I’m thinking to myself where did all the time fly?
This book was truly thrilling. It had all the needed scare factors—spiders, fear of drowning, of being lost and forgotten, clowns, even vampire babies that suck and drink from your ankle! The scenes were so well described and detailed it actually brought out the fear in me, granted I’m a person that can be easily scared, but still! The factors may be cliché and it may have been overdone but once you start reading you’ll see how Simon used these fears completely differently from what I’ve seen or read.
I also love the alternating point of views toward the end. It added to the scare/suspicion factor to the book. Nice touch, of course it had me turning the page faster and faster.
Since it is supposedly a series, expect to be left with a lot of open ended questions. I’m going to be quite lenient on the issues for this book for now but we’ll see how it turns out for the next book.
One of my favorite lines from the book was, ‘“You’re…a cancer,”…“No. Fear is the cancer. We are the cure.”’
"When dark creeps in and eats the light,
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..."
Overall: Quite an enjoyable read if you’re looking into some horror stories, trust me you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a little warning though, don’t read it on Christmas or the nights before Christmas like I had, really bad coincidence.
I also found the UK cover for this book. Which do you prefer, The American or UK?