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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where She Went

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Grade: 4 stars out of 5
It’s been three years since Adam has last seen Mia after her recovery from the car crash that killed her entire family. Since then Adam and the rest of the band has risen like a phoenix from its ashes. They’ve made it big: platinum albums, concepts across the globe, trashy articles. But even surrounded by millions of fans, Adam is as lonely as ever. Mia has changed as well. She is now an up-and-coming cellist who is already starting to tour as well whose momentum is just propelling forward. In a little more than 24 hours before Adam leaves to London Adam finds himself attending one of Mia’s concerts. Breath-taking and so achingly similar to the Mia he once knew. As Mia and Adam reconnect after three long years the question becomes: why did I stay?
Where She Went has the same evanescent feeling like If I Stay of drifting on a feather through the novel …through a hailstorm. The novel is told through present times and reflects on the past. The time shifts back and forth as both Mia and Adam recalled what happened after the car crash. The car crash affected them deeply; Mia’s guilt of being the sole survivor had created a chain reaction with Adam being part of the spiral. If I Stay was pure love; Where She Went was raw anguish—powerful and destructive.

Forman is, without saying, a superb writing creating the life of Adam and his ups and downs. He is an arrogant, pompous, and general ass to the reporters while one look from Mia can turn his life upside down. Forman has taken the description of paranoia to a private art as the first person narration made me feel as though everyone is out to get Adam.

Where She Went was a private novel between Mia and Adam. Adam’s inner workings were in constant movement, debating this and that. Some aspects of the novel I felt were forced while others fell into each other too perfectly. The ending was wrapped too quickly and too nicely in my opinion. Other than that Where She Went was a great sequel to the impressive If I Stay. Side note: love the brilliant titles!

Source: unsolicited ARC from Dutton
Cover B+
Published: 5 April 2011; hardcover

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mini-review of The Hunchback Assignment

The Hunchback Assignments (#1) and The Dark Deeps (#2) by Arthur Slade

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

The series contains all the necessary element for a good middle grade adventure story. It comprises of 70% adventure, 25% action, and 5% romance. As the title of the book suggests the main protagonist of the book is the hunchback from the Notre Dame but with a new superpower of shape-shifting and a name. The book is told primary from Modo, the hunchback's, point of view and occasionally, secondary characters. The story is very similar to the Alex Rider series; agents from the government send out to spy on the enemy, get into a predicament and at the end everything work out okay. The series is pretty much run of the mill middle grade adventure book, which I think it is a plus since they are so rare.

--written by my brother. he has a way with words doesn't he? ;)

Source: The Hunchback Assignments purchased myself; The Dark Deeps was an unsolicited review copy from Wendy Lamb Books
Cover A
Published: August 24, 2010 (paperback); September 14, 2010 (hardcover)

Typically my action/adventure books will be passed onto my brother since a) I'm not a huge fan of those genre if there isn't romance involved and b) my brother is a huge fan of MG action books with little/no romance.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mad Love [repost]

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

Grade: 3.7 stars out of 5
Alice Amorous is the daughter of the Queen of Romance, but she has yet to experience love and all of its consumption let alone tell a love story. But that’s what Alice has to do if she wants her mom better and her life not on the street. Heartstrings Publishing will cut off royalty checks and demand their $100,000 advance back if the Queen of Romance does not produce another work and soon. How hard can it be to keep your mother’s bipolar disorder a secret from the world and writing a romance novel under her mother’s name? Alice has the perfect love story—Cupid and Psyche’s tragic tale—with firsthand accounts from Cupid himself. Now time’s a-ticking.
Mad Love hits many disorders, illnesses, and life stress. Realm, former known as Lily, is staying with her grandmother in Amorous’s apartment duplex and has an eating disorder. Alice’s mother has bipolar disorder. Alice lives in fear of possibly having the same disorder as her mother. Cupid has cancer and dying. Reverend Ruttles is living with gay legal secretary Archibald after his wife’s death. Tony Lee, cute boy with freckles, is allergic to selfish. However, despite this load of severity and heaviness Mad Love didn’t focus a lot on these topics. Instead we dealt with Alice’s life while her mother was in the hospital: the loneliness and self-doubt.

A part of me found Mad Love to be a frustrating read. It took more than half way through the book for Alice to be convinced that Errol was in fact Cupid. A part of me understands that in the realistic sense, it will most likely take several days, weeks, to come to terms that maybe a guy isn’t crazy, but really is Cupid. Yet the time from being introduced to Errol to accepting Errol as Cupid was slow-crawled. The rest of the novel definitely picks up the slack and speeds along. The climax was punctured by the heavy thunder storm yet as the saying goes, after a storm comes a rainbow. There isn’t a happy-happy ending per se, but it fits nicely in the plot.

Characters: Realm and Alice butt heads quite a few times. I think because they have similar personalities and life experiences are the reason why. While Realm is selfish and stubborn and fairly cruel, Alice is blind sighted of what’s right in front of her. They both choose to see things differently than what it is. Reading Realm was so very, very aggravating for the reasons above. Alice was also very, very aggravating to read because being the reader I can expect what comes next and what should happen, but Alice is slow to act.

Once finished with Mad Love there were still concerns and questions: who was the one to oust the Amorous family. What did the doctors switch? Who was publishing the love story of Cupid and Psyche? The explanation of the auras: why so many colors?  

Cover A
Source: ARC from author; accepted pitch
Published: 4, January 2011