The PR firm that handled this title did one hell of a job, believe me. I had heard all kinds of good things about this one, and was resigned to waitin...moreThe PR firm that handled this title did one hell of a job, believe me. I had heard all kinds of good things about this one, and was resigned to waiting for paperback to come out, when a coworker lent it to my mother, who I promptly stole it from.
I know it gets said a lot, but Haven might be one of the stupidest and most frustrating young adult heroines I've ever encountered. The entire second half of the book consisted of:
1. Haven spends time with Ethan, thinking about how very pretty he is, and how he would never do anything bad to her, ever ever ever.
2. Haven talks to anyone other than Ethan, all of whom are trying to convince her that he's evil and might be trying to kill her. Haven now thinks Ethan is evil and might be trying to kill her.
3. Haven sees Ethan again, is reminded of just how pretty he is, and after he tells her he would never hurt her, she is again convinced that he would never ever ever hurt her.
4. Haven talks to someone who isn't Ethan. Now she thinks he's conspiring against her again.
She literally takes the side of the last person she spoke to. Her complete lack of independence and agency was almost offensive.
But no worries, folks. There's going to be a sequel!(less)
I believe this is my favorite ARC since The Hunger Games. Do with that what you will. (In part because: the biggest problem with ARCs is that you are...moreI believe this is my favorite ARC since The Hunger Games. Do with that what you will. (In part because: the biggest problem with ARCs is that you are then faced with an even longer wait than usual for the next book to come out, especially if you are not lucky enough - or the series is popular enough - to get another advance. Life is rough, etc.)
It's not very often that I only need to hear two words to add a book to my to-read list. But "nun assassins" pretty much fit the bill.
(After some thought, other two word combinations guaranteed to make me read a book: space Austen, ninja librarians, free drinks, invisible barista, Canadian pirates, and, of course, Kevin Youkilis. Have you read one of these books? Have you written one of these books? Please advise, because they sound awesome.)(less)
This review is going to sound just like all the other reviews on Goodreads for this book, because they're all exactly right.
It's a slow and confusing...moreThis review is going to sound just like all the other reviews on Goodreads for this book, because they're all exactly right.
It's a slow and confusing start: push through. It's frustrating, because Marchetta makes you work for every piece of information: it's worth it. It's an incredibly satisfying ending, even if you still haven't quite worked out all the details: yep, you're probably going to want to reread this one.
I had put off reading this one because I thought it couldn't possibly live up to the hype - and it didn't, really. The hype was pretty impossible to live up to. But it's an incredibly well written book, full of complicated characters, with a story that will grip you before you ever figure out what's going on.
(I ended up reading this in one sleepy go, trying to stay awake all night at the train station - turns out that when they say the train leaves at 11:20, they mean it. So plot and characters and style were a bit irrelevant, as I was going to read the book no matter how good or bad it was. But it worked out really well for me.)
January 2011: I just reread this in full for the first time since I read it originally (I flipped back through it and read specific parts after finishing it the first time, as I bet lots of readers do, as I put things together), and I think it was even better this time around. Since I technically knew who everyone was this time around, and knew how the pieces came together, I think it was actually a better read this time around, because I caught more of the hints and details that I missed initially. And, seriously. Jonah Griggs. <3(less)
I would dearly love to give this book two reviews, in large part because it is two different books poorly smashed together.
The first two parts (or, th...moreI would dearly love to give this book two reviews, in large part because it is two different books poorly smashed together.
The first two parts (or, the first 200 pages) are a historical look at the baseball - the object itself, rather than the sport that it shares a name with. Sure, you can't separate the two, but at the same time, the importance of the physical baseball can be easily overlooked. Going back to the days when baseballs were valuable enough that it was written into the league rules that the winning team got to keep the ball from the game, Hample shares all kinds of facts that, while not previously unknown, have not been put together as a book.
And that was all well and good - a fun read for a baseball dork/history geek like myself.
Then we reached part three.
In which Zack Hample decides to remind his readers why he managed to get a book published.
For those who don't know, Hample is semi-notorious in baseball circles for, as he puts it, "snagging more than 4,600 baseballs from 48 different major league stadiums". And, lucky reader, he's going to tell you his tricks, so that you, too, can shout at major league baseball players during batting practice in the hope that they will toss you a baseball.
That part gets a 1, for being stupid (catching a baseball at a game is neat, especially if it's a home run ball. making it your profession is a little skeevy) and for the self-satisfaction just wafting off the page.
Without part three, I probably would have given this one a four. Alas, Zack Hample managed to ruin Zack Hample's book.(less)
I keep waiting for my Pride and Prejudice spell to break, and instead it keeps coming back stronger. Usually a P&P sequel or retelling will be eno...moreI keep waiting for my Pride and Prejudice spell to break, and instead it keeps coming back stronger. Usually a P&P sequel or retelling will be enough to tamp it down for a while, and not in the "satisfied my Darcy craving" way, either. Let's be honest: most P&P retellings/sequels/updates are awful.
This one was quite good.
It's a different take on Mr. Darcy's reformation - what if he decided he needed, first and foremost, to make amends to Jane and Bingley? He determines that the best way to make that happen is to head to Netherfield and talk to Jane herself.
Out of this simple premise a wonderful "alternate" P&P is born. No awkward exposition. No random French. No previously-unmentioned cousins. No melodrama. No wildly out-of-character behavior.
Just a solidly written, quite engaging, and altogether satisfying look at the characters I'm already crazy about.
It's been a while since I've read any Nora Roberts (she was my first foray into romance novels, which I'm guessing is a pretty common confession), but...moreIt's been a while since I've read any Nora Roberts (she was my first foray into romance novels, which I'm guessing is a pretty common confession), but a friend of mine who reads almost exclusively paranormal romances told me this series was awesome, and then handed me the first two books. And, honestly, sometimes there is nothing better than a rainy day, a cup of coffee, and a romance novel.
This one was pretty good. There's a reason Roberts is one of the bestselling authors of all time, and it's basically this: her books are fun. They're not high literature, and it usually only takes a day or two for me to forget all the character's names, but doesn't that also describe half of the movies out there? It's comfort food. Delicious comfort food.
The part I really liked about this series was the friendships between the four leads. Female interactions in lots of media, romance novels included, can so often boil down to "the lead character is awesome, and all those other women are bitches". And that bugs me. So a great portrayal of a strong female friendship (no fighting over guys, no pettiness, real disagreements and real resolutions) was refreshing.
Embarrassing covers aside (and that's never stopped me before!), these books are a fun, quick read. Classic Roberts.(less)
A super enjoyable romp, with a witty narrator, a great cast of characters, and about as much fun as a spy can have. The premise just delights me: mayb...moreA super enjoyable romp, with a witty narrator, a great cast of characters, and about as much fun as a spy can have. The premise just delights me: maybe that snobby all-girl boarding school on the outskirts of town isn't just for girls in line to inherit lots of money. Maybe they're the Hermione Grangers of modern espionage and can speak 16 languages, disarm a guys twice their size in under 30 seconds, crack your firewall, and do it all in heels.
I had trouble with this one. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed reading it. I didn't want to put it down, in fact, and stayed up way too late finis...moreI had trouble with this one. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed reading it. I didn't want to put it down, in fact, and stayed up way too late finishing it.
But it was afterward, when I started thinking about the story, and the portrayal of white vs. black experience in the south in the 60s, especially as compared to what (little) I know from history class/other books/etc... and I wish the story could have been told a different way.
It's a story worth telling. Big things happened, big changes were made, and that era (or, rather, the era that ended as a result) shifted our country in a lot of really good ways.
Mostly, I'm uncomfortable that a story (ostensibly) about black women in the South (they're right there in the title!) still presents a young white woman as the hero. Skeeter convinced the women to share their stories, Skeeter wrote the book, Skeeter got to be a famous author and live in New York, Skeeter saved the day. Skeeter made money and got a career, and the women whose stories she told got... fired? ostracized? threatened? For a story (ostensibly) about the trials and resulting courage of black women in the 60s, they sure got screwed.
Which, I suppose, could be another level of social commentary. I just don't think it was an intentional one.
I think I'm going to find some non-fiction sources on the subject and make myself feel a little better.(less)
I liked this one, but I didn't love it. There, that's the qualification that comes from being a month or two removed from the book.
Brashares, as alway...moreI liked this one, but I didn't love it. There, that's the qualification that comes from being a month or two removed from the book.
Brashares, as always, completely owns me with her writing style and pacing. I read this one in one sitting and loved every minute... but not much stuck with me. Without looking it up, I couldn't tell you the names of the two main characters, which is a shame.
This one is perfect for a rainy afternoon with nothing else to do. A fun, absorbing read that won't stick around for long afterwards.(less)
I don't know what to say about this one. Nothing cohesive, unfortunately. So, instead:
1. I liked that each chapter started with a college essay prompt...moreI don't know what to say about this one. Nothing cohesive, unfortunately. So, instead:
1. I liked that each chapter started with a college essay prompt. (This is based on the assumption that they were real prompts, which I am fairly certain they are, and that Schreiber didn't make them up. If he made them up, I no longer like the concept, because talk about a cop out.)
2. I didn't like that this is basically a book about the boring white teenage boy who I am supposed to strongly identify with and the manic pixie dream girl with weapons who saved him from his daddy issues. Because that's pretty much all I know about these characters.
3. Unrealistic kick-ass-chick aside (and, really, that's pushing a lot aside, as I'm fairly certain Gobi said it took her three years to go from small town Eastern European girl to world class revenge-driven assassin), the hardest thing to buy about this book is that 24 year old Gobi, who is driven and smart and hot and all-around ridiculously badass, would end up with the hots for aforementioned boring, privileged, whiny, daddy-issue-laden, 18 year old Perry. Based on either 1) he was distantly polite to her while she was undercover as an unattractive geek, 2) he was unable to successfully turn her into the police despite repeated attempts, or 3) she sort-of Stockholm Syndrome-d him over the course of the night with her... hotness and badassery.
4. I wasn't wild about the gratuitous violence, but in a book about a semi-professional assassin, what else did I expect? And I'm willing to chalk it up to personal taste in this instance.
5. I can't really recommend other people read this one, because it wasn't that good, but I can certainly see some teenage boys really enjoying this one because there are car chases and hot chicks. So: if you are going to buy it from your local independent book store, buy away. Otherwise, don't bother.(less)
Unfortunately, they are better than the book they inspired.
The actual story and the writing left somethin...moreFirst: the photos in this book are fantastic.
Unfortunately, they are better than the book they inspired.
The actual story and the writing left something to be desired. The world and it's creatures that Riggs created felt unexplained, and not in the "there will be 3 more books and I need to hold on to some secrets" vein (or the even better "there's more to this story than meets the eye" way), but in the "here's an info dump that still fails to explain what the heck a 'hollow' is, so keep reading and maybe you'll figure it out" way.
Disappointing, with a ending that was less of a cliffhanger, and more of a buy-my-next-book(-hanger?). So, yet another Surprise!Series. I hate those. I'm going to have to start a shelf for those pretty soon.(less)
We just got this one in the Book Shop, and I barely got it out of the box before I read it, laughed, put it in the window, and carried on with my day....moreWe just got this one in the Book Shop, and I barely got it out of the box before I read it, laughed, put it in the window, and carried on with my day.
I liked it - quite a bit actually. I can't say it was the best written book I've ever read (spoiler alert: it wasn't), but the story was a good one, a...moreI liked it - quite a bit actually. I can't say it was the best written book I've ever read (spoiler alert: it wasn't), but the story was a good one, and touched on some tough issues.
Bobby Steele has had a rough year, and is spending the last couple weeks of summer wasting time at the local IHOP with his friends until it's time to go back to Riverview High. Until they decide the best way to spend one afternoon is filling out an application to Whitestone Academy, the local prep school. An application for Rowan Pohi, who doesn't exist.
Fletcher uses the prank that creates Rowan Pohi as a way to explore identity and names, and what they mean to Bobby Steele, son of Bobby Steele, a man who everyone in town recognizes. He takes a terrible (and terribly realistic) situation and makes it very human, very grounded.(less)
The idea is lovely - for a year, Hill will only read books she already owns, not purchasing anything new. And my first th...moreI liked it. I didn't love it.
The idea is lovely - for a year, Hill will only read books she already owns, not purchasing anything new. And my first thought was - I own enough books that I haven't read that I could probably go two years; it was nice to know I wasn't the only one buying books with the best of intentions and then getting distracted by the next tempting title to come along.
I enjoyed Hill's thoughts on books, reading, authors, and nostalgia, but my biggest issue with this one is that so little of my library overlapped with her's. I didn't get the references. And I suppose that's more my issue than hers, isn't it?
In a few years, when someone writes another take on the idea, full of young adult novels, well - that book, I will love.(less)
Oh, this one was fun. Clever and a little subversive and very reminiscent of Roald Dahl (particularly The Witches).
Emmy was a likable and solid main c...moreOh, this one was fun. Clever and a little subversive and very reminiscent of Roald Dahl (particularly The Witches).
Emmy was a likable and solid main character, but Miss Barmy really made the book as a truly fabulous villain. And all of the various rodents were really just icing on the cake (Extract of Gerbil! the Endear Mouse!).
This one will go to the top of my list for recommendations at the Book Shop.(less)
Telling, not showing. Incredibly stilted and unrealistic dialogue. Weird, trite, preachy BS about girl power (apparently pink hair he...moreBad. Really bad.
Telling, not showing. Incredibly stilted and unrealistic dialogue. Weird, trite, preachy BS about girl power (apparently pink hair helps!) and the straight-edge culture. And one of the least interesting and most grating main characters I've encountered in a while.
The writing style reminded me of some of the early readers I've been reading for the Book Shop, only this is a young adult book. For teenagers. Who are probably looking for prose that doesn't have much in common with the Magic Tree House series.
Trivia, baseball, unrelated pop culture references, footnotes, and graphs: turns out these are some of my favorite things. I love the website, and can...moreTrivia, baseball, unrelated pop culture references, footnotes, and graphs: turns out these are some of my favorite things. I love the website, and can't wait to see what Robinson came up with for the book.
I'll start, right up front, by saying I had two problems with this book. The first being that quite a few of the infographics included in the book were originally posted to the website, meaning I've already seen them. Don't get me wrong - I liked them! Both times I saw them! But I've already seen most of them.
Want to know the Billboard 100 #1 song played the day Nolan Ryan threw his first and last major pitches? Done. The worst town in the US for baseball fans to live in (and why)? It's there. All of the information you could possibly require re: Ichiro and his awesomeness? Included.
If you know a baseball dork (or if you are one), this is well worth the flip through.
Now, you may be asking - Chelsea, didn't you say you had two problems with this book? Did you walk away in the middle of writing your review again and forget that you said that? Well, yes and no. I walked away, sure, but I don't plan on leaving a cliffhanger for you, no worries.
A solid middle reader book, with characters that are realistic enough to be relatable, but interesting enough to hold the reader's attention. I would...moreA solid middle reader book, with characters that are realistic enough to be relatable, but interesting enough to hold the reader's attention. I would recommend it to middle school girls with no hesitation (and, if I were to come across any middle school boys who didn't dismiss a book simply because the main character is a girl, I would recommend it to them, too), but this is not going to be a crossover book. I can't see older teens, much less adults, having much interest in this one, and that's not meant as a slam on the book. It's perfect for the age group it's intended for, and that's not always as easy as it sounds.(less)
I loved Collins' America's Women, so I'm excited to see what she does looking at more modern history.
Easily accessible while still comprehensive, this...moreI loved Collins' America's Women, so I'm excited to see what she does looking at more modern history.
Easily accessible while still comprehensive, this was not a quick read for me simply because some of the stories told by the women Collins interviewed were tough to deal with. This book frustrated me in the best possible way (much like Half the Sky) - it made me want to do something.(less)
I did a happy dance in the middle of the store when this one came out of the box. Elephant and Piggie are wonderful, as always, and there's a message...moreI did a happy dance in the middle of the store when this one came out of the box. Elephant and Piggie are wonderful, as always, and there's a message about acceptance, I guess, which hardly counts, because (view spoiler)[there is a bear in a pig suit (hide spoiler)]!!
It pains me to say this, it really does: this book was awful.
Now, some context: I grew up in (around, next to, effectively in, all of the above) Bath,...moreIt pains me to say this, it really does: this book was awful.
Now, some context: I grew up in (around, next to, effectively in, all of the above) Bath, Maine. I graduated from Morse High School, which, surprise! was named after Charlie Morse after he donated a lot of money. I know some of Charlie Morse's decendents.
Charlie Morse, the person, was a corrupt jackass who schemed and cheated his way into a lot of money. He also had the amusing habit of sailing off to Europe every time he was in trouble, using a fake name - except when he was called on it, suddenly it was simply that the crew couldn't read his handwriting when he signed in, silly crew.
Charlie Morse, the book, was boring as all get out. If you want to experience being a high school history teacher, this might be a good place to start. Uninspiring prose, full of lists and statistics that can only be seen as representative of the "throw it in to meet the length requirement" school of style.
It's too bad an interesting life story was told in this fashion, because there's some promise in the drama of Charlie Morse, just not in Bath Maine's Charlie Morse.(less)
Meg Cabot's horniest character yet! Seriously, though, the steamiest Cabot I've ever read (not that it was all that steamy). Quick and fun and enjoyab...moreMeg Cabot's horniest character yet! Seriously, though, the steamiest Cabot I've ever read (not that it was all that steamy). Quick and fun and enjoyable just like all of Cabot's books. Though, to be honest, I enjoyed the post in her blog about her determination to use the "butt-touching" cover to get the book banned - she's jealous because some of her fellow young adult authors have been banned, and she hasn't - more than the book itself.
On second read, after spending the first 100+ pages ridiculously annoyed by everyone in the book (the main character, Katie, and her inability to keep her lips off cute boys who are not her boyfriend; her father, who is convinced that she will get over her crippling motion sickness as soon as she finds a boy to drive her around; the entire damn town for worshiping the football team, and not in a heartwarming, Friday-Night-Lights kind of way), I suddenly remembered why I gave the book 3 stars: Meg Cabot's prose is damn near irresistible, and Tommy Sullivan is awfully dreamy (and as unrealistic as your average Cabot love interest). You go, Tommy Sullivan. (less)