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Win a copy of Nobody and Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ends 2/20)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sneak Peek!

So both Carol and I have been working on this all month long. Do you want to know what it is? Do ya'!? Too bad! You'll find out tomorrow. But here's a hint at what it may be!

Want another hint?

A Map of the Known World

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell (April 15th 2009—Scholastic)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

They say no land remains to be discovered, no continent is left unexplored. But the whole world is out there, waiting, just waiting for me. I want to do things-I want to walk the rain-soaked streets of London, and drink mint tea in Casablanca. I want to wander the wastelands of the Gobi desert and see a yak. I think my life's ambition is to see a yak. I want to bargain for trinkets in an Arab market in some distant, dusty land. There's so much. But, most of all, I want to do things that will mean something.
-- From A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD.”

Review: A Map of the Known World is an elusive book. I cannot seem to grasp the right words needed to form a complete thought. So let us start from the beginning—my expectations.

I was quite ecstatic that it was actually written as a novel rather than a verse poem. I wanted to see how Ms. Sandell would use her poetic method into paragraph forms. Will it still contain the lovely lyrical melody? Or would it fall flat like a sinking rock? There were some scenes where I can definitely see the melody she once had in the Song of the Sparrow. It came alive when she described the artworks—vivid imagery and creative use of mediums. Many authors would have stuck to paint or graphite but she went out of the way and used organic materials as well as metals—moss, fabrics, nuts and screws. But aside from that, the tone was strictly basic. But still good nonetheless.

I thought that Ms. Sandell captured the relationship with Nate and Cora well. It was through flashbacks that she presented Nate before the self-destructive persona came along. The caring brother and his road to anger came and went relatively quick. I think that if she spread it over the course of chapters then it would have had a greater effect. But it was still nice to find little hidden treasures of Nate everywhere.

Damien, however, was in and out. I felt like he was forced into the scene then forced out. The relationship between Cora and Damien was iffy and tremendously fast paced for me.

Speaking of Damien, in the book she mentions that his mother is black and his father is white. It seems to me that international backgrounds are becoming less scarce. Think about it, first there were Perfect Chemistry with Latinos, then North of Beautiful and the Chinese background, and now Damien with his mixed heritage. I think it is quite nice to find an expansion of this. Either that or the authors are writing about some fantasies—oh la la la…I am so off topic now. Moving on…

Overall: A Map of the Known World was a creative and fun outlet. Fans of Song of the Sparrow will be pleasantly surprised by this latest novel.

Cover A
It is simply stunning but also shows an important piece of art from the book.

Monday, March 30, 2009

You’ve Got Blackmail

You’ve Got Blackmail by Rachel Wright (April 2nd 2009—Putnam)

Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Lozzie Cracknell is a girl on the edge. Her parents have recently separated; she forgot to mail the invitations to her mum’s super-important client party; the school bully is out to get her following an unfortunate e-mail incident involving Photoshop and a picture of a horse’s behind; and now it looks like Mum might be dating her English teacher, the utterly loathsome Mr. Hilary Barnett.
Just when she’s got about as much stress as she can handle, Lozzie and her best mate Dex stumble upon a tantalizing mystery—it seems Mr. Barnett is being blackmailed. But who on earth would blackmail a bore like him, and why? As they delve deeper into the mystery, questions pile on top of questions, and the one thing that does become clear is that danger can lurk in totally unexpected places . . .”

Review: So this book is short, extremely short. It took me less than 2 hours to finish this book from start to finish. Maybe it was the huge font or the txt msg like wrds?

My biggest frustration for this book has to be the writing style. I felt that while I was reading this I was being sent back through time to when the 5th grade. I felt like screaming “We teens may still be quite young but that does not mean we cannot understand complete and coherent sentences!” It was like reading from 10 year old point of view—childish, annoying, and random at moments. The characters were as equally charming.

The actual “blackmail” does not occur until midway through the book. Even then the blackmail is quite straightforward. I tried to solve the mystery of the culprit, following the clues and piecing the hints together, but alas, to no avail. Why? I expected twists and turns, like a true mystery. Instead I ended up with a give me. I thought too much in this case. Be warned when reading, DO NOT THINK. Just go with the flow…which may or may not be a good idea.

I am stressing. Why? I cannot seem to comprehend the book. What did I read? Was the entire book based on that 20 page blackmail!? Quite baffling.

The redeeming aspects of this book can be the humor. It was funny in some scenes. The ending was also quite decent.

Overall: …so does anyone have any good recommendations to cleanse my palette?

Cover C+

EDIT:
I feel like I have to clarify something. The book does NOT per se use IM talk throughout the book. It was the persona or the feeling that something was not right. Like the language was overly simplified. Many authors today want to appear hip and cool, using slang words or very oral words like "becoz". I have a very strong disdain to these types of novels.

Monday Mystery: Janette Rallison

After asking about a bazillion authors I finally found one who wrote a really quick Monday Mystery for me! I'll have more to come later on!
Here is a random thought for you:

Is life believable?

It's something that authors have to take in consideration when they write. Are the actions and the motivations of the characters believable? And worse almost--are the other details believable? You noticed I didn't say factual. I have put factual things in my books and had my editor tag them as unbelievable. For example, when I was writing Just One Wish, I talked to my favorite TV star, Richard Hatch, who played the original Apollo in Battlestar Gallactica and who played Tom Zarek in the current series. I asked about actors work schedules and if they worked on weekends. He told me if they were behind schedule they did.

This didn't surprise me because once while I worked at a resort a camera crew came to film a commercial and they worked 16 hour days. The idea seemed to be that you once you started filming you didn't stop until the thing was done.

But since my editor didn't believe actors worked weekends I figured readers wouldn't either and I changed the dates.

I had dinner with my editor not long ago. We were talking about cooking and he told me that after Thanksgiving he had decided to make soup out of the Turkey carcass. (My first thought: why would anybody do that?) So he boiled the carcass in water--get this--for three days.

The result, needless to say, was not good.

"Why did you boil it for three days?" I asked.

He shrugged. "Just seemed like the thing to do."

He would never let me get away with that in my writing. Life may not be believable, but fiction has to be.
You can find Janette at her website!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fragile Eternity


So I went a bit crazy with book trailers but I can't help it! Anyway I finished Fragile Eternity and my review should be posted in a few weeks.

Believe it or not, but this trailer is pretty darn close to the book.

Shine, Coconut Moon


Neesha deserves full credit~

Sophomore Switch


made by the author, Abby.

Google Reader

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read the latest post I had. If you do then you shall die! It's titles "Trix..."

Winner!

The winner of my ARC of Going Too Far is Green Bean Teen Queen! I compiled the entries then shuffled once and had my lovely assistant Laura pick a number!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Reading Slump and Test Taking

Some of you have questioned about my "Hiatus" picture I posted quite a few days ago. That was mainly a precaution and nothing to serious. However, I may in fact have to take up on that unexpected offer though. Right now I barely have enough time to do anything but schoolwork. That means no reading, no reviewing, and definitely no posting. So far my hiatus will be around a week or less. I will continue to do my Monday Mystery mostly because I have most of done already. Meaning I have everything ready to go. My surprise for later this month will also be active. It has been planned for 2 months now and 90% of everything is done. This is also partially because they will be no better time than the one I had in mind.

So for those of you who are nosy, I am currently slumped with multiple tests, essays, and oral presentations. My ACTs and SATs soon need my attention as well. I am also in a reading slump as I type this. I have been on Fragile Eternity for about a week or so. I am barely half-way done. For those who know me, I read fairly fast, meaning a book in a day or two. I am just brain dead...

I apologize sincerly to those who I owe reviews or anything or that sort or anything at all. I promise to be back shortly, like in a few days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday! (7)

This meme is being hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelley Martin (May 26th 2009--Random House)
"Anything is possible....

Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she?"

So I haven't been reviewing much as of later and for that I apologize. Once this week or the next few days are over, I should pick up the speed again. Next week I am going to have a huge surprise along with this other blogger so be prepared to be...!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Awards Galore!

First up! GreenBeanTeenQueen gave me a proximity award!

Rules:
This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY--nearness in space, time, and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to 8 bloggers who must choose 8 more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Thanks to Kristi who gave me a Premio Dardos Award!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

Rules:
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

So both of these awards I have been previously awarded so I think I will skip it. I really appreciate it ladies! It adds color to my somewhat dull color scheme!

Next up the Sisterhood Award! This one came from all over the place! Stephanie! Kristi aka The Story Siren! and Laina!

Rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

1. Persnickety Snark
2. Ravenous Reader
3. H
4. Silvia
5. Prophecy Girl
6. Reverie
7. The Epic Rat
8. Tower of Books
9. Reader Rabbit
10. Genevieve

And finally a Zombie Chicken award from Alea!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

1. Sarah Ockler
2. Amanda Ashby
3. CK Kelly Martin
4. Cindy Pon
5. Katie Alender
6. Justina Chen Headley

Going out of the box for these two awards!

Breathing

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman (April 16th 2009—Viking Books)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “What if the guy who took your breath away was the only one who could help you breathe?

Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels and working at the library. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.”

Review: Breathing was a tale of young love that steals your breath away. The sudden ache when you know that you are just meant to be, but the world prevents it. Or maybe just yourself? It’s the feeling that maybe you just are not good enough to be with that person that steals your breath or soul away. But, let’s aim for the positive. Breathing captured the essence of tender touches, ripping heartache, and soft caresses in one stunning novel.

Savannah was a poignant teen with an adorable sense of humor that you just couldn’t help but sympathize with. She reacts like what many teenagers do; the author captured this upcoming blossom beautifully. Child like innocence, random tempers, as well as the hidden love for her family. Her courageous stunts, her friendship, wrapped her personality with a tight red bow. But Savannah sometimes needed to grow a bit more—act more mature. She became too dependent on Jackson that she completely forgets her like pre-Jackson. Her free time circles around him even though he was not there—finding him jobs, phoning him constantly.

Jackson was a one man army. He was the perfect counterbalance to Savannah. The ever steady rock that held her to the world that kept her breathing. He was sometimes, however, eluding me when I tried to grab his essence. Jackson’s actions were somewhat predictable and often at times trying to please Savannah too hard or are selfish—never in-between.

The relationship between these two was an up and down roller coaster. He leaves, she cries, her returns, she rejoices—granted it wasn’t all that simple and whatnot. I did felt that the beginning could have been expended more. A more in-depth development—a few more words exchanged and some time between them to grow. The transition scenes were iffy and abrupt at points. And their relationship was, sad to same, was childish. Every scene was too melodramatic and I just wanted to turn the dial down a slight notch.

The Southern drawl was adorable within itself but felt a little much at times. What I greatly love the family relationship. I can relate to it wholesomely. Sure, teens may all hide it, but in the end we truly do love our parent[s]. And the author portrayed it in a beautiful fashion by creating a scenario where one boy can bring you all closer.

Overall: A great book that missed its mark a few times, but still delivered a powerful message.

Cover B-

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Mystery: Miley Cyrus

So you all have heard about Miley Cyrus by now right? If you haven't then think Hannah Montana. Now if that doesn't ring a bell, get out from under that rock. So she has a hit TV show, an hoard of screaming fans that love her music, and a Hannah Montana movie coming out soon. Well you may or may not know is that she, Miley Cyrus has written an autobiography, that's right people, an autobiography. Shocking, yes!

'"There are multiple sides to all of us. Who we are and who we might be if we follow our dreams." -Miley Cyrus

Three years ago, Miley Cyrus was a virtual unknown. Her life in rural Tennessee was filled with family, friends, school, cheerleading, and the daily tasks of living on a farm. And then came a little show called Hannah Montana.

Almost overnight, Miley would rocket to superstardom, becoming a television and singing phenomenon. Quiet days were replaced with sold-out concerts, television appearances, and magazine shoots. But through it all, Miley has remained close to her family and friends and has stayed connected to the Southern roots that made her so strong.

In Miles to Go, Miley offers an honest, humorous, and often touching story of one girl's coming-of-age--from private moments with her pappy to off-roading with her dad, Billy Ray, to her run-ins with mean girls. Miley talks about suffering through drama and heartbreak and coming out the other end unscathed (relatively). And now for the first time, she will discuss it all-the milestones still left to reach (driver's license! voting!), dreams to live out (travel to Asia! find true love!), and the lessons to be learned (remembering to enjoy every moment!).

This is a truly unique look inside the world of one of today's biggest and brightest stars as she tackles looking back and moving forward."


Miley said:“I am so excited to let fans in on how important my relationship with my family is to me. I hope to motivate mothers and daughters to build lifetimes of memories together, and inspire kids around the world to live their dreams.” --SpreadIt

It released last, last week, March 3rd, under Hyperion. Interested? Then buy your copy at Barnes&Noble, Amazon, Borders.

But wait! That's not all! Apparently there is going to be a movie based off of this book!

"Billy Ray Cyrus apparently is looking for a Miley Cyrus look-alike to play his daughter in a film based on her new memoir, Miles to Go. The Disney flick about the young superstar's meteoric rise is likely to be out within a year. Casting will focus on a total unknown lucky enough to have been born with looks very similar to the "Hannah Montana" sensation."
--Chicago Sun-Times (lower bottom)

Hold it! I have more stuff to show you!



There I am now finally done! And thus, that concludes Monday Mystery. Hope you guys enjoyed it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ARGH!

Stupid blogger is not showing my post up on the google reader thingy. Hopefully it'll fix soon or...

Giveaway Update

Decided that the deadline will be next Saturday...

Short Break: Part 2--Quack

I'll let you guys figure out what this mean

Friday, March 20, 2009

Short Break

for now...

If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (April 9th 2009—Dutton)

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5

Summary: Choices. Seventeen-year old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia does for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.”

Review: When I cracked open the first page of If I Stay I expected to go in crying my eyes out, snot running down my nose, and stacks of used tissues besides me. Well, call me the ice queen because that did not happen. But! I feel that I have to say that I did happen to read this book while in school…during an important test…in a classroom filled with silence and many many classmates. And I am a loud crier. So I held it in. So thus explains the non-waterworks.

Gayle Forman presents the reader an interesting question in her novel. What would indeed happen if I did decide to stay instead of letting go? What will I lose? What will I gain? What is there to live for? There were moments where the intensity, the heartache came full throttle at me that I needed a break. My eyes, teary, were blinking vigorously to stop the sobs from coming. I had to breathe in and out, close my eyes then venture back into Mia’s tale. I was that much of a sadist to be reading this in school.

The pace was exquisite. The way she switched back and forth from the hospital to the Mia’s past. She delved into Mia’s relationship between the family members—mother, father, brother, grandparents, her friendship, her love of the cello. Sometimes happy, others nostalgic, all great. Then it reverts back to the hospital—the painful experience of watching and waiting, hoping for the best in the end. Up and down, the emotions flew from page to page. What I love most about this method was the fact that I had a breather every few minutes. I could collect my thoughts and also the novelty of it all. If the hospital scenes were stretch out or if there were no “happy” scenes, I probably, most likely, will end up bored.

The characters were flawed—meaning it was well executed. Scratching your heads at that? Well how would you feel reading about a character who was so perfect? Annoyed? I definitely would be. So it was pleasant to read a book that had problems, people who aren’t so darn prefect, and ones that seem more human than a false image in your mind.

The writing style reminds me much of the stream of consciousness. I plan to not go into further depth of that—just pointing about something that I learned in school! Yay!

Overall: An amazing read that leaves me wanting and expecting more from Gayle.

Cover B-

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Length

Has anyone else been noticing the sudden length of my reviews getting longer and longer? I had to go back to my old reviews for something and then I saw how short it was. Well compared to my newer ones at least. I think I blab or ramble too much. Oh well. Maybe it's all random since some of the reviews stored on my computer--that has yet to be posted--are fairly short so it evens out I suppose. It's just scary, the difference.

The Guardian

The Guardian by Joyce Sweeney (March 31st 2009—Henry Holt)

Grade: 2 stars out of 5

Summary: “Hunter has never had anyone to look out for him. His mother gave him away when he was young, he’s never known his father, and his foster mother leaves a lot to be desired in the mothering department. So when a mysterious, benevolent force suddenly starts coming to his aid, Hunter doesn’t know what to believe. Could he really have a guardian angel? Hunter so badly wants someone to care that he’s willing to take a leap of faith, and more. But when he finally learns the truth about his angel, he’ll have to decide whether it’s the best thing that ever happened to him or the worst.”

Review: The Guardian actually surprised me a bit. I was going in thinking that I will forever curse Sharon when she told me to request this book from the publishers instead of Also Known as Harper. So when it finally arrived, I was more upset. Why? Because the ARC cover was so so grainy, that my inner cover whore screamed no! But I finished it and I was slightly happy.

It was about two-thirds into the book that I really started to get into the book. That was when the emotional high of Hunter finally reached its peak. Where the frustration, and so-called guardian, all came crashing down. It was exhilarating to finally see Hunter fighting back. Always the quiet and fearful one, Hunter defends himself against the one thing that held him back, his foster mother. So applause goes to Hunter for finding his hidden strength.

The characters were a bit off. I think the author portrayed the opposite ends of the spectrum at times. Either you’re the wonderful goody little two shoes, or the badass villain. It was, however, the emotional appeal that was the most compelling. The heartache of never truly fitting it, feeling like utter crap being passed around through families. The unknown of your actual birth parents like the thought of you being so unbearable that even your own flesh and blood cannot stand the sight of you. So the thoughts that the story provoked were I think were the story’s best strong point.

There were many scenes that were choppy and discombobulated and the characters made this story somewhat unlikable.

The ending was slightly disappointing, however. I felt it ended too perfectly. I also felt that Hunter’s response to his father, the guardian, was odd. At one point he was glad to be within his care, but then he does a complete 180 when he tells the cop that his father kidnapped him and he’s a murderer. Completely out of nowhere.

Overall: A library borrow if you are interested

Cover C+

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday! (6)

Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan (April 1st 2009--Ocra Books)

'“I play the Five Minutes More game. Five minutes. I can stand anything for five minutes. Even my father being dead.”

D’Arcy’s desperately wants her father’s death to have been an accident. Then she learns the truth. Why would her father choose suicide? Why didn’t she see the signs? How will she manage alone? Then D’Arcy becomes friends with Seth. Now will things get back to normal or will she have to call on strengths she didn’t know she had to make a new kind of normal, five minutes at a time?"

Click here for an except.

This meme is being hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday goes out of Carol! She's turning 50! At least that's what the cake says :)
Okay so she isn't really. Fine, I'll give you a sane cake then.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kissing Booth

Kissing Booth by Lexie Hill (January 1st 2009—Point)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Lisi has never been kissed. Sure, she could practice on her guy friend, Johnny, but he’s like a brother to her! So when it comes time to pick a theme for the Spring Carnival booth, Lisi suggests a "Kissing Booth," hoping it will give her the chance to get a cheek-kiss from her crush, the handsome, popular Brett. But on the day of the carnival, as rumors fly and kisses are stolen, Lisi discovers that the person she should really kiss may have been right in front of her all along.”

Review: Kissing Booth is not something to be taken critically—more of a fun, little whimsical read.

However I do have to point out that I had issues with some things. Mostly on the characters friendship wise. So Lisi has two best girl friends, Mo and Bella. They both annoy me to no end at one point or another.

Mo for instance was Lisi’s best, I mean best!, friend since childhood. After coming back from Paris after spring break, her entire appearance changes. But that does not necessary change her personality. A quarter-way into the book, she completely ditches Lisi. Why? We’ll find out later on, like later on. Does it justify her decision wholly especially since she ends up leaving Lisi for the arch nemesis, the Fly girls (aka the Dance Team)? I am leaning towards ninety percent no. I guess this is all based on what you characterize as friendship, to what extreme or clarity should you expect from close friends. The truth is not needed all the time, but a slight indication would be nice. Remember, this is all my opinion.

Bella to me was more of user than an actual friend. She practically used Lisi to achieve her goals, never mind what Lisi thinks. She (Lisi) needs to grow a backbone and say no for once. It is fine to say no since it is your heinie that is on the line.

Aside from that and the small insignificant details, Kissing Booth a mind-numbing book because it is such a simple book. The plot line was unique particularly the way the author connects all the pieces together. It felt realistic in the sense that I know these types of people. Lexie Hill captured high school drama to the tee.

Overall: Cute and funny at times, but nothing extraordinary.

Cover B+
Once again, cute

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bad Girls Don’t Die Trailer



Definitely read the book when it comes out!

Monday Mystery: Mystery Meat

Randomness it awesome. I thrive on randomness. It is what calms me down, my inner zen. My brain moves a million miles an hour, so I have to blurt out what's on my mind or else my brain gets overcrowded/overheated and I end up mauling over the same topic over and over again. So this what Monday Mystery is. A collection of random crap that inhabits my mind.

To give you guys an example or analogy of some sort, I present to you Mystery Meat.

So what is Mystery Meat? It is a concoction of random assortment of...well, meat. Basically the leftovers. That is what this meme represents. The leftover thoughts that do not pass the "can I expand this into a huge celebration week?" test.

So every Monday I plan to host an escaped thought. Whether it may be a question/poll to ask my readers, an author's interview/post, a surprise giveaway, or a fun little fact. So stop by every Monday while I make you all scratch your heads as to why I'm not in an asylum!

Now, I present to you the infamous SLOPPY JOE!


Delicious!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Be Mona

To Be Mona by Kelly Easton (November 25th 2008—Margaret K. McElderry)

Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Sage Priestly is seventeen, and she longs to reinvent herself -- to strip away the fat, the past, the crazy mom, the unpaid bills. She longs to be her own version of the gorgeous and popular Mona Simms.

Sage starts dieting and exercising. She gets blond highlights and throws away all of her black clothes. Bit by bit she transforms herself. This is deeply troubling to her best friend, Vern, who is secretly in love with Sage just the way she is. But the boyfriend Sage wants—the popular jock Roger—suddenly notices her. And when they start dating, Sage thinks her life is turning around.

So why isn't Sage happier? Yes, Roger is a little too controlling and pushy, but isn't that what boys are like when you date them? What is it about the image Sage has created that just doesn't fit?”

Review: After digesting this book for a couple of hours, my opinion of the book is still (insert heavy silence here). I really am not too sure what to think of the book. Was it fabulous? Not really. Was it horrendous? Nope. So where does that leave it? Smack dab in the middle of what the heck did I just read?

It had a great base, a wonderful foundation, if it only kept going. The premise of the book has been done quite many times before so I looked forward to how the author executed the plot and how she morphed it to something of her own. Only I felt that she headed into the wrong direction. Yes, trying to capture the realistic teenage emotion is good; however when you characterize someone completely solely on appearance and how popular they are, you will not gain any emotional support—from me and hopefully from any other readers.

Sage was too focused on the perfect appearance, to be perfect like Mona. Some have even called her shallow—which I cannot completely disagree. Almost every female teen character was shallow in a sense. But if the author had delved fully into the relationship of Vern, she might have created a scenario where Sage develops. Or into the relationship of her mother creating emotional depth. In reality, however, she skimmed both topics leaving me dumbfounded as to why even bring both topics then.

Roger is…an idiot to put it lightly. Not in the sense where I hate his guts, okay maybe I do, but more of his traits that made him an idiot. He is the all American football playing, horny boy, career goal—cop, talking shit with friends, living with his mother forever, type of guy. I just could not see what Sage saw in him! Wait, I think I do understand. His social status but of course. Even as the story progresses, Sage does not appear to be phased by his more than kiss attitude, in the aspect of actually trying to stop him. Only when he actually tries to really force her does she see the light. Dense, thus is Sage or the idiocy to create such a false image of someone. Narrow-mindedness? Stupidity? Or naïve? You be the judge.

Mona was well, nowhere to be seen. More of the idea of her, her essence, of what she represents, is played in the novel. She, herself, comes in for like 3 lines. And she is of course, pretty, nice, and smart all rolled into one. She ticks me off…only because in the sparing 3 lines, she ends up crying because Sage did not want to go to her house. Pathetic! I mean, it is okay to not get your way at least once! Anyone have a spare backbone? Anyway moving on…

The ending was abrupt. Non-cohesive, and leaving so many unanswered questions. For one thing, whatever happened to Vern! I’ll just leave it there. But I am still dumbfounded to this point about the ending.

Overall: If the book still sounds interesting, borrow this from the library first!

Cover C+

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Awards Part 2!

I got an award from Krista at Tower of Books! and Stephanie!

Rules:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Um...pass? Just e-mail me if you want this ;P


Another PROXIMITY award from Shalonda and Kristi! Whom all received the same award from me. Between you and me, I think they got lazy picking new people. Either that, or they love me! I pick option B because it sounds much sweeter!

Thank you all ladies!

Randomness!

Random contest from me this time! I am giving away an ARC of Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols!

"All Meg wants is to escape her excruciatingly small town after graduation. In the meantime, her above-the-law boyfriend and her wild class trip to Florida coming up over Spring Break are the only things keeping her from imploding. But before she leaves on her trip, one of her boyfriend’s pranks goes too far and turns Southern Gothic nightmare. She finds herself in jail. The only way to avoid prosecution is to spend Spring Break on night patrol with the by-the-book cop who arrested her.

Fine. She did the crime, she’ll do the time. If the cop gets hot under the collar cruising the night with a punky blue-haired girl-felon, that’s his problem, not hers. But her own personal boy in blue is younger, less experienced, and so much sexier than she imagined at first. As she falls for him, she explores why he’s as determined to stay in this town as she is to leave. She pushes him to the edge by questioning every rule in his police academy manual. And when he hits back, demanding to know why she can’t stand this straight-laced Alabama town, he will push her to the edge, and over..."

Rules:
+1 if you comment under this post
+1 if you start following me
+3 if you were already a follower (google reader counts)
+3 if you post about this giveaway (show me the link!)
+2 if you refer someone
+1 to the person who you referred!
+1 if you commented on my Valentine's Day post. Just let me know you want to use that entry here or not.

I am also giving away +1 for every special "thing" a person does...

This is only for US residents or anyone who has access to a US address. Sorry.

It will end...whenever I feel like it or when I remember. Remember to check back to see if you won!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

Friday, March 13, 2009

Play Me

Before everyone reads this review, I just wanted to say that this book was from my own to-read pile. Thus meaning this review sucks. So do not completely trust my opinion right now. My head is pounding and I wrote this when I had like 5 million tests for school...so expect me to definitely go back to this review when I am not so stressed out.

Play Me
by Laura Ruby (September 1st 2008—HarperTeen)

Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Eddy knows how to play the game. Not only has he got a hit online TV show, but in the game of love Eddy knows all the tricks, and who will play with him. The girls who know he doesn’t make any promises. The girls who are cool with it. But as graduation looms, everything starts deviating from Eddy’s master script. Never in a million years did he expect to be facing off with unapproachable Lucinda Dulko. For once, he’s not in control—but to be with Lucinda, he’s willing to get swept up by the game. What happens to a player when the rules change?”

Review: I loved Laura Ruby’s other novel Good Girls so I was so excited to get Play Me. It took me less than three hours for me to gobble it up. And after that I just wanted to throw it back out.

Despite the author trying to justify her reasons about Eddy, in the end I still felt that was a complete bastard. Sure he had his soft spot, like with his mother, but it did not compensate the fact that he was a selfish and narrow-minded guy that was being led by his hormones. He might have thought he loved Lucinda but his actions did not show that. His actions did show that he wanted to get in her pants. But was it really his fault? Not really. Since it takes two people to do the deed.

The relationship between almost everyone in the story was discombobulated. I could not fathom as to why everyone gravitates towards Eddy. He abuses their friendship and does not seem to care for them. The same thing applies to the family relationship. When sound advice was given, he completely ignored it even after his career with MTV collapsed.

The one redeeming factor would have to be Tippi Hedren. This bird makes me crack up like a hyena, okay I exaggerated a bit, but she really did make me laugh.

Overall: Next.

Cover C+

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (October 1st 2008—Harcourt)

Grade: 5 stars out of 5

Summary: Katsa can kill a man without even batting an eyelash for she has the Grace of killing. Her uncle, Randa, had taken Katsa under his wing since she was an infant, but he exploits her ability and sends her on various missions to show that the king is always in power—murdering those who stole from the king, broken arms or fingers if you go against the king.

But Katsa has her own missions aside from the king’s orders. During one of theses mission she runs into this a skilled fighter, but not skilled enough to take her down. When she later arrives home she soon discovers that this stranger happens to be Prince Po from Lienid, an island country. While she is shocked about this, she later befriends him in the most extraordinary way.

Together they will go an adventure to discover what has happen in another country that left his sister, the Queen, locked up in her room. And they will also discover something about their feelings along the way…

Review: Graceling was gorgeously put together and packaged with a beautiful bow presenting itself to the lucky readers.

Let’s start with the world that Kristin has created. It is luscious, detailed, and filled with imagery. What is even more helpful is that if you do happen to be troubled, there is a map in the book that shows the countries and has symbols to point out key locations. Think of Eragon if you will. However, I do have to mention that the various names and overly descriptive backgrounds of each country may bog the reader down. I know for me, it forced me stop reading for some time. It was around the first couple of pages, 30 or so, that made me frustrated—it gave too much at one time. I got lost in the details, in the many names, and the situations.

After I got through the muck, Katsa turned out to be a thrilling character. She was a strong female character who can kick almost everyone’s butt. She had strive, devotion, respect, and a clever mind. However, her stubbornness may be a flaw at points, along with some others—which can also give dimensions to her ever expanding character. She desires to bear no children or wedding rings, which later aggravates me especially at the ending with Po. I am all for being independent, but remaining lovers despite equal feelings on both sides kind of does not make sense to me. Okay, it kind of does. Not being chained down, not being forced to think that someone owns you. It just a pet peeve I guess.

Po, weird name I know, was the pretend laidback, but highly sensitive character that played off Katsa very well. He brought out the feminine side of her, her love aspect. He, himself, also plays his own role. He was selfish but also unselfish; he was the sweet gentle man but also filled with anguish. And he can also kick some major booty as well.

Speaking of lovers, I feel that I have to point out that there is indeed sex in this novel. While it may not be explicit, explicit, I have to recommend to mothers who wants to know if their 12 year old daughter can read this or not. Do not unless they are mature enough. So I definitely recommend this book to the older teen group.

Katsa and Po’s relationship develops over a period of time. Nothing too elaborate or fast paced. I definitely felt that this love does not hinder the plotline at all. In fact, I think it may have helped it in some areas. It gave the reason behind Katsa’s decision to leave Po behind a bit of a small heartbreak. But overall more depth, that there truly was a decision behind it all—their reasons and actions. So was it cliché? In some aspects sure. There were twists and surprise, however, which left me smiling at the unexpected events.

Overall: A wonderful and amazing read! I am definitely stalking this new author and cannot wait to see what she has in store!

Cover A+
Gorgeous!

P.S. Me + summaries = Yan pounding head on desk...repetitively

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday! (5)

Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz (December 15th 2009--Hyperion)

"Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, the mysterious new boy at school who turned out to have a very mysterious gift--pyschometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry, and experiencing her own strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow rubbed off on her. Can the power of psychometry be transferred?

Even once Ben returns to school, Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Despite the romantic tension between them, Ben remains aloof, avoiding contact. Then when an unexpected kiss leads to a frightening argument, Camelia makes the painful decision to let Ben go and move on. Alex, the hot new guy at Knead, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. Alex is easy-going, and seems to really care about her.

But when Camelia and Alex start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events upturns secrets from Ben's past--and Alex's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out whom-before it's too late."

This meme is being hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Let's Be Friends!

Alyce @ At Home With Books just gave me this charming award!

Rules:
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I think this is very similar to the other award, the PROXIMITY award, so to those of you who won that award from me, well take this one too! Double cuteness!!

Thank you Alyce! I'm so glad you enjoy reading my blog!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feeling the Love!

I am so excited to have received more awards! So I can definitely feel the love and passing it along!

First up, Robin Titan gave me this adorable award.

Rules:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

I thought that I might happen to skip if that's okay with you? Thanks again Robin!

Next up we have two, count them 2!, shiny, sparkly, drool worthy award given to me by Steph Su! Not only do I judge book covers, I judge award icons too...I have to stop this endless cycle of craziness at one point.

First up, Premio Dardos means ‘prize darts’ in Italian and it is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. I freaking love this one! It's so colorful and I think I can stare at this one all day!

Rules:

1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

Sorry but I really am not feeling up to thinking this through. School sucks.

Secondly, this award! So adorable!

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight 11! bloggers who must choose eight! more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

This one I am definitely up to doing!

1. Sharon, because she totally tolerates me!
2. Khyrinthia, my online therapist! Who is SPECTACULAR!
3. Alea, who is beyond sweet! But she could be sweeter if she just gave me her gosh darn house key...
4. The Story Siren...I like her? Really, there's a reasonable explanation as to why...oh! There was this time where I poured my heart out to her? I think I did. Or maybe I rambled to her too?
5. Laura, my online mom! lol, I swear she has connections to almost every single author. Project Runway!
6. Kelsey, she helped me with my layout! She practically changed everything!
7. Carol, ...self-explanatory...I think she may be my long lost non-Asian twin whom was born from a different set of parents...and year...GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE!
8. Stephanie, one of my first blogging friends. Which reminds me, we need to start talking again!
9. Shalonda, we anti-social people need to stick together ;P
10. Book Chic, he just rules okay? Plain and simple.
11. Mandy, she's like always there whenever I need someone to chat to.

Again, thanks for these awesome awards!

P.S. No reviews for awhile. Right now I am going over past reviews and adjusting the grades. Reasons to thus are my own right now :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Free Book!

So in an attempt do spread the love of an upcoming book, Say The Word by Jeannine Garsee, a bunch of bloggers, myself included, are trying to promote this book.

For the first attempt we have a very pleasant surprise! Laura is giving away a hardback copy to one very lucky person! So act now, and click here, because this contest is extremely random. Meaning we have no idea when it closes but I can tell you it's opened WORLDWIDE. No restrictions, no rules, just say you want it.

It's FREE! It's EASY! And it can be YOURS!

New System (1)

After reading all of the comments so far concerning my current state of reviews, I have concluded to leaving the way I review as is, but I will be changing my rating system a bit--I plan to restate what each star means and so forth. This is still an undergoing process so do not expect a drastic change anytime soon.

I did receive a question within my question post about my decimal stars so I feel like I should explain that a bit further. For me, half stars do not cut it. It's too limited. Therefore I plan to continue to the decimal stars but shy away from it if I can, just the hundredth place, the tenths remain always. Right now I am outlining the way I plan to grade books from now on. So far this is all that I have:

Characters
-Depth
-Love relationship if any
-Family relationship
-Relationship to other characters
-Emotional appeal
-Motivation

Secondary characterization
-Depth
-How they support the main character

Plot
-Background information (if they explained everything)
-Great action sequences if any
-Ending
-How overused is the topic? (cliche)
-Surprise factor
-Beginning
-Realistic

Writing Technique
-Transition scenes
-Gorgeous metaphors and sensations (i.e. the detailed scenery)
-Suspense
-Humor

This is all still very tentative. I'll be adding more subcategories, deleting some and expanding on others. So please do not ask what this means and what means, because more often than naught, I am still as lost as you are. If you feel that I am missing anything important let me and I will definitely consider it! Each category is supposed to help me organize my thoughts and help me with my review.

Those of you who asked me to expand more on the better aspect of the book, I try. Really I do. But sometimes, there's only so much I can blab on about before my review becomes a bunch of gibberish. Take for example my review for Going Too Far, complete and utter crap. I am so much better at critiquing than praising, I think many of us are. So I am going to try harder now.

I am also trying to write my own summaries. Trying is the key word. I do not know how others do it, but I sure can't. Nor do I plan to have my entire review about the summary.

Anyway I really would like to thank everyone who left a comment to my quick question. You guys have no idea how much it helped! I was feeling very concerned so I think some of my apprehension have been relieved. Especially to those who wrote like half a page responding to me. I was shocked at so many people who responded! So if you commented, give yourselves a super duper hug for me! THANK YOU!

I think this all I have to say? Just in case, I will title this "New System" Part I...

Oh! But I did want to talk about the picture. This is a metaphor of me reviewing...Eh, don't feel like explaining it. This post is long enough as is :)

Missing Link?

I just wanted everyone to know that my review for Forest of Hands and Teeth is back up again. I am not too sure how many of you have read it yet, but I took it down shortly after it was posted. There were some technical difficulties and a concerned blogger who persuaded me to take it down.

Anyway, I wanted a separate post informing you guys mostly because there was this one comment which I thought was amazing and I did not have the heart to delete it if I should delete my review.

So here is the link to the review and thanks for the comments to the previous post about my reviews! I truly appreciate it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quick Question

So for the past couple of weeks I have been getting comments that I am a hard reviewer. Too put it bluntly, anal. Of course I took it into consideration. However, just recently I've discovered that I have only given 8! books a 4 or higher grade. So right now I'm reevaluating my grading system. But first I want to ask you guys, my readers, a question before I do that.

1) Am I an extremely harsh, to the point where I am being mean, grader?
2) Should I continue to give my full response flaws and all about a book?
3) Or should I ease it up a little and grade books more gently?
4) Do you guys even like my reviews?
5) In what areas can I approve on?

I Know It’s Over

I Know It’s Over by C.K. Kelly Martin (September 23rd 2008—Random House)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “PURE. UNPLANNED. PERFECT. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then, weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant. Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over.”

Review: As many of stated before I Know It’s Over is an explosion of heartbreak and losing yourself in someone else's shoes. The simple tale of a surprise and the way many teenagers now face. In this heartfelt novel, C.K. Kelly Martin explored the wonders of the human relationship and letting it all go.

Nick was the perfect star in this novel. He was the typical boy with the typical hormones. He gave great emotions and great reactions to certain events. The way C.K. wrote through the male perspective was flawlessly done.

Besides Nick, almost every single character was amazing. I could distinguish each one from the other. I felt a connection to each and every one of them.

The family dynamics were compelling. I think the awkwardness in some situations with Nick’s family members as well as Nathan’s or Sasha’s, were true to their characters. It also gave more depth to the persona of each character. Why do they act a certain way, who do they have to gain respect from, and to please.

Juggling family and friends, beginning new relationships and ending the old ones, both in love and sports, C.K. creates a harmonic balance. The way one thing is being affected by the other, and their decisions from that and the emotions brought forth.

I love the way the story was set up. The big opening, the huge shock, which I thought was an ingenious place to put it. Pretend to be in Nick’s shoes, would he not feel the same shock as the reader does when they hear the news? Not only does it catch the readers’ attention, but it also makes the reader want more. Then the story moves on to how this came to be, the pregnancy. I felt that the relationship between Sasha and Nick was realistic to the dot. And the ending. The last few pages were golden to me. That was where I felt Nick finally understood the situation and let go all his feeling—where he cried, where his inner walls finally collapsed.

But I felt that it dragged on a bit towards the middle and some scenes were not needed.

Overall: I Know It’s Over was a beautifully told story about a common issue nowadays. She delivered in every single aspect and obstacle thrown her way, conquering it all gracefully.

Cover C+

Gave Up

So after consulting with some people, it turns out everyone seems to like the background image. Decided to keep that and mess with the header then. After some hours I gave up, so who ever wants to mess with it and tweak it to make to look better be my guest. For now, I am so sick of looking at it! Ugh.

Yet Again...

So I am changing my layout for the third time. I have a new header put in, Kelsey was kind enough to change the background of my posts back to white and the regular text to black. I was getting tired of the dark theme because it made me hard to see sometimes. Plus it was making me gloomy...

Tell me what you guys think of the new header, I wanted something more me so I kind of tweaked it and revamped it myself. Right now I'm in the process of changing the background image because it does not go with the colors of the header. So if anyone can find a burgundy type of background image with hints of brown let me cause so far everything I found sort of sucks.

Bear with me while I yet again change almost everything.

P.S. Now that I'm looking at it again, I kind of don't really like it. So I need some feedback please~

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (March 10th 2009—Delacorte Press)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “In Mary's world there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?”

Review: I had high standards for this book. While the summary less than caught my eye when I first heard about it, I expected it to captivating based off of so many positive reviews and awards. Sadly, I may be the few and the only ones who did not come to love this book. So just tally this up with The Hunger Games, and John Green, because I have a feeling I shall face many comments about my review (or will you all avoid this train wreck waiting to happen?)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth had too much going on at the same time. The romance had no true beginning. It was mentioned that she craved for Travis, but no real background as to why. She later pushes through the story without explaining anything between the two. Mary keeps mentioning how much she loves Travis but yet, I saw no actual development between them. Yes. They had a few scenes where they connect but I feel like I still do not understand why they are so love with each other. Harry was, however, a better match I felt at times. Granted, not always but I got a deeper connection between the two (Mary and Harry) rather than Travis.

This brings us to the characters. I thought that while Mary was the main character, she was one of the weakest. I felt that her drive, her motivation was superficial. She only thought of the ocean, of Travis, of her survival. To me, she was selfish. Granted, she may have some tenderness and care in certain scenes but overall I just was not all that fairly compassion towards her. To say the least, the majority of the character I felt no true sense of connection. They either died too quickly before anything really big started, or they just fell. Hard. However, I did feel like Mary’s brother Jed, was great. I liked his depth, his emotions, and his desire. I love his need to protect Beth but also his reaction to the turn of their mother and how the situation was ironical similar.

The plot in general I had issues with. The plot sounded wonderful but the execution lacked. The author tried to do too many things all at once. She tried romance, thriller, mystery, action, and adventure. This only created an awkward situation together. I felt if she focused on some of these genres then she would have succeeded, but for now, I felt she rambled on at certain areas trying to contain it all. It was only about how way through the novel did the story finally picked up—that the actual Unconsecrated (just a fancy term for zombies…) attacked. Ever now and then, there were golden scenes that was perfect and that was one of the starting points for me. Another was the Sisterhood and Mary’s short time confinement with them. I actually happened to love that. The secrets, the crazy loons, and the secret rendezvous. I guess what I love most about it was that Mary had more dimension while she was there. It was where it was mostly centered on one action or genre which made the most sense in my mind.

The background information that the story provided was in the first half. I felt that it was great she (Carrie Ryan) included it all in there, to inform the reader of the world before. It gave great insight, great detail, and a better understanding of the village and the causes of the entire Forest of Hands and Teeth. However, I did felt that there some things in there that could have been taken off. Again, it was the ramblings that dragged the story on too long.

The ending. It was…I guess it was an ending if you can call it that. I felt it was more of a hastily ending to keep the reader wanting more for the sequel. It was too abrupt, left too many unanswered questions.

Besides all of that, the writing was beautifully done—great analogies, detailed descriptions of scenes, and a brutal and honest tone, albeit sometimes dull. Carrie Ryan created a stunning post-apocalyptic world that fulfills every fantasy lovers dream. With its intricate world, detailed plot, and gruesome action, Forest of Hands and Teeth will captivate many.

Overall: Sad and disappointed. Will still keep this in my bookshelf because it is a series, so that means I will hopefully read the next part and maybe a lot of my questions will be answered. Like the Luxe series, I’m crossing my fingers that this series will progress in a better direction.

Cover B-

I would love to hear your opinions on this book!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bad Girls Don’t Die

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender (April 21st 2009—Hyperion)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence: dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy thirteen-year-old sister, Kasey—even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.

When a family argument results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever—sometimes she just …changes. Her blue eyes go green; she uses odd, old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening—to her, to her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey; but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?”

Review: Bad Girls Don't Die was a chilling read that had an odd twist of humor. There were moments where my arms were covered in goose bumps and all of a sudden, it wasn't what you had not expected. It was actually somewhat funny, the scenes. However, it comes out more of an awkward—I’m not crazy—laugh. Extraordinary in that sense of way.

“I dreamed I was standing on an island in a swamp full of alligators…I saw Kasey swimming towards me, blissfully unaware of the predators…I pulled out a rifle, and I shot any alligator that got close to her. Then Kasey was with me on the island, braiding my hair and singing me Christmas carols. And a battered doll in a ripped petticoat came out of the water and walked over to us, but Kasey couldn’t see her. And the doll pointed at Kasey and looked at me and said Your sister is crazy.”

What I loved most about this quote was the randomness of it. Seriously, I love random stuff but when you include it with some not so random information, only to you of course, then it makes it only so much more fun. A little giggle to yourself looking crazed to the world through their eyes makes it so much more sweeter.

Aside from that, outside of its original content, this passage may not seem so frightening, but it left me in chills…well until the part about your sister is crazy. The main fear is the dolls, the true demonic force behind it all. Even in real life dolls are creepy to me. I’m talking about the classic porcelain ones, the ones that are so lifelike you just can’t stare them in the eye. So here I was, just anticipating something horrific about to happen, and bam, there goes a funny little surprise. So an awkward, half hilarious, half scared, laugh is elicited.

Almost all the characters are so well done. The secondary characters are of course in the background, but also giving more depth to the main character. But that doesn’t just stop there, some of them even have a bit more life in them. Carter, the male protagonist as well as being a secondary character, gave Alexis more of a girly flare that doesn’t show anywhere else. But he also has a dark past that gave him more depth. Alexis was the older sister, the person who cared for her, as well as the one who’s more than what she appears.

The action was predictable in some areas, but not so in others. The mystery aspect and the road to uncovering it was wonderfully done and left no real questions behind.

Overall: A great book to pick if you’re in the mood for creepy little dolls. Okay so it’s much more than that. Just read this book if it sounds interesting to you, trust me, it’ll be better than you expected. I took it for granted and now I’m in contentment after reading it.

Cover B+