This is how you write about drug addicts and love triangles. And cunthounds. The most irrepressible cunthound there ever was!
Seriously though, I thin...moreThis is how you write about drug addicts and love triangles. And cunthounds. The most irrepressible cunthound there ever was!
Seriously though, I think this is one of the best love triangles I've ever read in that there's never really a question about who is going to end up with whom, but the dynamic between all three people is so fantastic. The lingering physical attraction and familiarity between ex-lovers is so well depicted. Mostly though, I love all the characters involved. Halfway through, I noted that I loved where Terrible/Chess/Lex were and where they seemed to be going but then Stacia Kane went and pulled up ALL the stakes and raised them even higher. I'm almost afraid to read the next book!
I can't wait to read the next book. Terrible is a hell of a drug. (less)
I went from being ambivalent about Book 1 and the first half of this book to completely and utterly invested. Two words: Terrible, rooftop. Chess is s...moreI went from being ambivalent about Book 1 and the first half of this book to completely and utterly invested. Two words: Terrible, rooftop. Chess is such a great character too -- complicated, messy, brilliant. I was having trouble with the dialogue or 'Downspeak' in Book 1 so Flannery recommended the audio version and the narrator is fantastic. I'd write more but I need to read the next book. (less)
I'm surprised by just how much I liked this book. It was so vibrant. I'm so glad I stuck with the audiobook (all 18+ hours!) because the narrator, Jan...moreI'm surprised by just how much I liked this book. It was so vibrant. I'm so glad I stuck with the audiobook (all 18+ hours!) because the narrator, January LaVoy, is one of the best I've heard.
This would've been a slam dunk 5 stars for me... had it been shorter. Even a little bit shorter. January LaVoy kept me engaged but I think my eyes would've glazed over at parts had I been reading it.
To me, Rose Under Fire was a harder read than Verity. Verity was one of my favorite books last year. It was a heart...moreFirst, this isn't Code Name Verity.
To me, Rose Under Fire was a harder read than Verity. Verity was one of my favorite books last year. It was a heartbreaking and beautiful story about friendship and courage set during World War II that I compulsively read in a day. However, I never forgot that it was a work of historical fiction. With Rose, even though I knew it was also a work of Elizabeth Wein's ability and imagination, it felt so much like a memoir. It was so much harder to take knowing that all these atrocities were based on actual events. It's not a quick read nor is it an easy read. The experiences of the women at Ravensbruck were so horrible and beyond imagination, it's no wonder that people at the time didn't believe the stories coming out of Europe. It's also for that reason, though, that I think a book like Rose Under Fire is so important.
Rose Justice is an eager American pilot who learned flying at the knee of her father, the owner of a flight school in Pennsylvania. She goes to England to join the Air Transport Auxiliary and assist the Allied cause. Her uncle uses his connections to get her a flying assignment to France and it is on the return back to England where she disappears. No one has a clue where she or her plane is -- because she has been captured and taken to Germany. She ends up in Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp, along with women from France, Poland, and Germany. She encounters a group of Polish women who have been nicknamed the Rabbits because they were subject to horrible experimental medical procedures. One of the Rabbits, Roza, was only 14 when she was captured by the Nazis.
What I love about Wein's writing is her ability to take historical events and facts and use them to buttress her story. It's not so much about Nazi medical experimentation as it is about Roza. And Izabela. And Aniela. And all the other women whose names Roza forces Rose to memorize in case something happens to them so that their stories, their names can be told.
This story is also about hope, when it's not that thing with feathers.
"Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet."
It's about maintaining hope while surviving a reality that is harsher than most people can imagine. It's about surviving a place that was designed to systematically dehumanize and purge its prisoners. For Rose, her poems help keep her from becoming a schmootzich, someone whose desperation has turned her into a savage. Something else that helps Rose are her friendships with the other prisoners. It wouldn't be an Elizabeth Wein story without powerful relationships. The friendships in Rose though are different because they are born of circumstance -- horrible circumstance. It is unlikely that the prisoners would have even encountered each other in the outside world, and yet they now depend upon one another to make it through another day. Sometimes, though, the most powerful bonds are the ones forged in fire. It's what keeps you standing when hope plummets. It's a tiny strip of Cherry Soda nail polish that stubbornly clings to your toes even when your head has been shaved and your clothes stripped off.
I was a bit undone by this book. I honestly expected to finish it in a day or two, but I had to take breaks when the historical aspect overpowered the fictional. At the same time, I wanted to learn more about the very real women who inspired this story. This book is a testament to their endurance and bravery, and one that I think everyone should read.
I feel I should warn you: Ilona is actually a power word that means read. After 5 books, 3 novellas and 1000 squeals in 6 days, you would think the no...moreI feel I should warn you: Ilona is actually a power word that means read. After 5 books, 3 novellas and 1000 squeals in 6 days, you would think the novelty would wear off. NOPE. There is still such a freshness to the story and so many more storylines to be explored. Derek? More please. Jim and Dali? More please. Kate and Curran? I WILL SAY PLEASE BEFORE AND THANK YOU AFTER.
Basically, I can't get enough and it's a great feeling. Book slump? What is that?
The stakes are raised even more in this book because as Voron repeatedly told Kate, caring about people makes you vulnerable. And for the first time in her life, Kate has people she truly cares about and vice versa. In Magic Slays, there is a mysterious device that puts them all at risk.
I love that Kate and Curran are so evenly matched. This is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"You're free to leave. Go home, kiss your wives, hug your children, and put your affairs in order, because tomorrow I will burn your neighborhood to the ground. We will kill you, your families, your neighbors, your pets, and anyone who will stand in our path. An attack on my family will not go unpunished."
It was said by Curran, Beast Lord of Atlanta and BAMF, but it could just as well have been said by Kate, former mercenary and all around BAMF.
In a week, I've gone from silently mocking the cover (a lion?!) to wanting to start a Fuck Yeah Curran tumblr. Yes, it's that serious. Kate Daniels has quickly established itself as one of my favorite series and I can't wait to see what the next book brings.(less)
Dali, you adorable scene stealer. In this novella, the half-blind nerd girl gets center stage. Dali, the vegetarian white tiger shapeshifter who crash...moreDali, you adorable scene stealer. In this novella, the half-blind nerd girl gets center stage. Dali, the vegetarian white tiger shapeshifter who crashed into the story in Magic Strikes, is everything Kate Daniels isn't. She doesn't fight, doesn't kill, but that doesn't mean Dali isn't badass in her own right. She can write out a curse in calligraphy like no one else.
Jim: "You want me to go back into that house protected by a magic sticky note?"
We saw a hint of possibly something between Dali and Jim, Alpha of the Cats and Curran's Chief of Security, in Magic Bleeds. Okay, Kate was just mouthing off as per usual but she may have actually touched on something. However, Dali knows she's not that girl. She knows guys see her as a brain with glasses. Now she has to use that brain when something goes wrong in one of the Pack houses and affects Jim.
This was so cute, SO CUTE. You can't not love Dali but throw in her equally feisty mother and hijinks ensue. Who else but an Asian mother could or would greet an Alpha with "He is dark. Very, very dark", and THEN bop him over the head with a rolled up newspaper? But Jim has some tricks of his own and seriously, my heart melted. I won't spoil it even though it's not a huge part of the story but it's a HUGE deal to me! Oh, and there is an appearance by a Korean woman and even though it's only to say hello, it was just icing on an already perfect cake.
Basically, if you haven't read any Kate Daniels yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??(less)
I have zero clue what's been going on in the world the past 3 days. However, I now know the real reason Snoop changed his name from Dogg to Lion. Curr...moreI have zero clue what's been going on in the world the past 3 days. However, I now know the real reason Snoop changed his name from Dogg to Lion. Curran.
How is this series just getting better and better with every book? As if I didn't love Katelanta (Curran County? I need to talk to Jermaine Dupri about this) enough already, Ilona Andrews throws in a POODLE and more Princess Bride. That's in addition to the standard A+ banter and toe curling chemistry.
In this book, we learn more about what motivates Kate and Curran to be who they are -- and why these reasons keep them apart. Someone from Kate's past comes back to wreak havoc and destruction. The shit hits the fan in the Order, the Guild, and the Pack. Kate is as badass as she wants to be.
"But know this: if you come to remove me, come in force because ... I will kill every single one of you. My hand won't shake. My aim won't falter. My face will be the last thing you'll see before you die."
You come at the queen, you best not miss. Bitches.
I'm already mourning the fact that there's only one more after this that I haven't read. I'm going to drown my sorrows at book club tonight while pleading Curran for not having read either book club book. Maybe I'll have some Boone's in Kate's honor (and try not to get laughed out of the bar). ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
5 SIGNS THAT YOU'VE BEEN INFECTED WITH THE KATE DANIELS VIRUS
1. That knife you used to butter your toast? It now has a name.
2. You relate everything i...more5 SIGNS THAT YOU'VE BEEN INFECTED WITH THE KATE DANIELS VIRUS
1. That knife you used to butter your toast? It now has a name.
2. You relate everything in the real world back to the Kate Daniels world and start making the cheesiest jokes.
3. You said "Katelanta." Even once.
4. Lions. How hot are they?! --> This is a legitimate thought.
5. You're panicked that your Kindle battery will run out mid book because you usually charge it while sleeping but you haven't been sleeping because of this series!
There is so much MORE in Magic Strikes. We get more of Kate's back story, more of Curran's back story, more of Kate and Curran's present story... Hold on while I go back and reread EVERY scene with them.
Derek has quickly emerged as a favorite character as well. He's like a mix of Warren and Ben from Mercy Thompson wrapped up in a pretty package. And Doolittle! Who doesn't love Doolittle!
As in the previous books, the word/foreplay in this is off the charts. It's a slow, simmering burn and yet the effect is scorching.
Rating: 4.5 stars.
Okay, on to Book 4. Curran is a hell of a drug.(less)
For the first quarter of the book, I thought this was heading toward 3 stars. I liked it and it explained the world much better than Magic Bites, but...moreFor the first quarter of the book, I thought this was heading toward 3 stars. I liked it and it explained the world much better than Magic Bites, but there were more new characters and creatures when I'd barely managed to wrap my head around the ones already introduced. But then, but then, there was the soup and the please and the thank you and AH. And then Noelle sent me this gif for Curran:
...and well, I was walking around murmuring Curran all day.
Starbucks barista: May I have a name for this drink? Me: Curran. Barista: Karen? Me: CURRAN. Wait, what are we talking about?
I haven't been this wrapped up in a world since last year when I zoomed through all the Mercy Thompson books. Full review to come.
Psych. I'm getting some coffee (coffee) and reading the next book. And if you like The Princess Bride, you need to read this. (less)
The first Marchetta. The only one I hadn't read. It was as precious to me as a last born in Charyn and I kept it hidden away for as long as I could. A...moreThe first Marchetta. The only one I hadn't read. It was as precious to me as a last born in Charyn and I kept it hidden away for as long as I could. And then Carla declared that it was time to break the emergency glass on this book.
Josephine Alibrandi had me from the beginning. I knew I was dealing with a kindred spirit when on page 5 she says,
"Believe me, I could write a book about problems. Yet my mother says that as long as we have a roof over our head we have nothing to worry about. Her naivete really scares me."
Josie is whip smart, a scholarship student at a fancy private school who dreams about being a lawyer. She's been raised in the loving bosom of her single mother, Christina, who got pregnant at 16, and the suffocating bosom of her grandmother, Nonna Katia, who moved to Australia from Italy at 17. She knows her father is Michael Andretti, the boy next door, but she's never met him. Then one day, Michael Andretti shows up to visit her grandmother. Suddenly, the HSC (High School Certificate), mean girls, and her overbearing Nonna are the least of her problems. And then there's Jacob Coote, the boy from Cook High who caught her attention with a speech about voting and who dances pretty well too.
Guys, I never realized I was Italian-Australian. Okay, all joking aside, I know it's Marchetta and she speaks to me as few authors do, but still, imagine my surprise that as an ethnic Korean born and raised in the US, Josie Alibrandi is a character I related to on such a personal level. I can't even think of another character who comes close. Growing up, I remember thinking how much easier it would be if my family was European instead of Asian. It's not that I disliked who I was, but oh, to not have to prove my Americanness or my ability to speak English, to not have to worry about people pulling their eyes back and telling me to "go back to my country." I knew other immigrants and minorities dealt with their own prejudices, but I was convinced that Europeans, who didn't look so obviously foreign, had an easier time. Actually, scratch that. I was convinced they had an easy time, period. Josie's opinion of rich students like Ivy Lloyd and John Barton reminded me of that. She was sure their privilege cocooned them from her harsh reality. As a young girl, she was ostracized for being a bastard child by other Italians. As a student, she was called out for being on scholarship by other wealthy students. However, when someone says they would hate to be Italian after listening to her, she says,
"No. You can't hate what you're part of. What you are. I resent it most of the time, curse it always, but it'll be part of me till the day I die."
This. A thousand times this. I don't think you can sum up the immigrant experience in a few words, but this is pretty damn close.
I know I'm making it sound like an issue book because I was so impressed with Marchetta's portrayal of it, but it's not -- or it's not just that. I'm not surprised it's considered a modern classic in Australia and studied in school. Josie actually reminded me of another classic character. Remember when I was talking about gumption?
"I'm not ready for heaven yet and I don't think heaven is ready for me."
Josie, the spitfire, reminded me so much of Anne Shirley. They're both dreamers who won't settle for the status quo. Or personal attacks. Slates are nothing compared to modern science books. Jacob Coote, though, is no Gilbert Blythe. Still, Josie's interactions with Jacob, and her decision whether or not to sleep with him, and her regret at said decision, and her regret at her regret were so honest.
Nerds. Jocks. Cheerleaders. Epic battle. Sounds like your typical high school story, right? Enter the killer robots!*
I knew there was a high propinqui...moreNerds. Jocks. Cheerleaders. Epic battle. Sounds like your typical high school story, right? Enter the killer robots!*
I knew there was a high propinquity** that I would like this because I loved Faith Erin Hicks' Friends with Boys (my review / Noelle's review) and Prudence Shen's /report podcast is a must listen in my book club.*** After flying through the first 50 or so pages on the official website, I ended up breaking my months-long NetGalley ban to request it. And it was totally worth it.
Charlie is the popular captain of the basketball team. Nate is the much less popular president of the robotics team. They're neighbors and best friends though they are on opposite sides of the social spectrum. Nate is usually worked up about something while Charlie is laid back. The latest outrage in Nate's life: the school has decided to let the student council determine which extracurricular club gets money. The science club was going to get it so they could enter the national robotics competition, but then the cheerleaders said they needed new uniforms. Enter Holly, head cheerleader and Charlie's ex-girlfriend. Nate's solution is simple: run for student body president and make sure the science club gets the money. Yeah, that idea doesn't fly with the other members of the club either. As Ben disbelievingly tells Nate, "You're literally trying to win a popularity contest!" Holly counteracts Nate's move by entering Charlie into the race. Even though Charlie is an unwitting challenger, it's game on for Nate. Friendships, loyalties, and robots are tested.
To begin with, this book has my favorite depiction of cheerleaders ever. I mean, look at Holly's entrance in the book:
She enters the story like freaking Beyonce! And she has the attitude to back it up. These aren't your stereotypical cheerleaders. Nate calls them the "Pom Pom Gestapo" for a reason. They are fierce, ruthless, smart, and organized. Holly is a formidable opponent, but she is by no means a villain in the story, which I loved.
Charlie, oh Charlie. Do you remember Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles? Jake was one of the first boys my heart Teen Beated for, and he will always hold a special place there. Well, Charlie reminded me of him. When the basketball team finds out Charlie's dad is out of town and decide to invite half the school over to his place, Nate finds Charlie hiding under his bed reading a book. Nate tells him, "You really are the worst cool kid ever." Also, since this is a graphic novel, we don't just have to imagine Charlie shirtless. Ahem, shoulders.
Before you think this is just about the popular kids, remember that Prudence Shen wrote this book. In her /report bio, it says:
"She has written, much to her chagrin, hundreds of thousands of pages of bad-to-slightly-less-bad fanfic in everything from anime to Smallville to shows that lasted three episodes to children's books."
The nerd voice is well represented. And it's not just nerd boys. Joanna is a key member of the robotics team. I love that one added touch to the KILLER ROBOT is a little, stenciled bow.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong combines a fun story with clever illustrations, or maybe it's a clever story with fun illustrations. The result is a book that will appeal to even those who don't consider themselves graphic novel fans. I think this was even better than Friends with Boys, and I can't wait to see what Faith Erin Hicks and Prudence Shen come up with next.
-- *Okay, so they're not technically killer robots in the Michael Bay sense. But really, do you want to live in a world where Michael Bay makes sense? **Quinto/Pine Challenge: To use one of the words that made Chris Pine's head hurt. ***Confession: I've only listened to the episode about Korean dramas. But it was hilarious.
Are you tired? Rundown? Listless? Do you poop out in the middle of a book -- even one you're really enjoying?
Try CINDER. It will bust you out of your...moreAre you tired? Rundown? Listless? Do you poop out in the middle of a book -- even one you're really enjoying?
Try CINDER. It will bust you out of your reading slump.
And Prince Kai is so tasty too!
I don't know whether I hit the rookie reviewing wall, but I haven't written a review since... November 15?! Don't get me wrong, I've been reading (and taking notes while I read) but that's it. With Cinder, I didn't take any notes or make any highlights. I just read... and read... and enjoyed the hell out of this book.
Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living in a futuristic New Beijing. She has to work to support her stepmother and two stepsisters. Her stepmother, resentful at being forced to take her in, refuses to buy Cinder a new mechanical foot so she's stuck with the little one from when she was 11 years old. Already, I love this take on Cinderella. Cinder may be the ward of her stepmother, but she's also a feisty, badass mechanic, a la Mercy Thompson. She meets the heir to the throne, Prince Kaito, when he comes to her booth to get his android fixed. Kai's father, the Emperor, is dying of letumosis, an incurable disease that has already taken the life of his mother and many people around the world. As if the letumosis plague wasn't enough, there is the constant threat from Queen Levana, the powerful Lunar queen who has mind altering abilities.
Basically, this book has a little bit of everything -- action, political intrigue, romance, science fiction, and fantasy. Since it's a retelling of a well known story, the plot is fairly predictable. This isn't Sherlock (one of the many shows I watched in its entirety during my book slump -- what up, Cumberbitches!), where the plot is driven by its mystery. Rather it's the creativeness and freshness of Marissa Meyer's writing that kept me interested in the story. The Cinderella story is the roadmap, but Meyer blazed a completely different and unique trail to take us up to the stroke of midnight. I had so much fun reading this book and her wink wink nudge nudge references to Rapunzel and future characters in this series.
Did I mention this book is set in Asia with a hot Asian prince? Seriously, it's so nice to be able to reference a hot Asian male character other than freakin' Shang from Mulan. So help me God, movie studios, if you cast Jackson Rathbone as Kai, I will throw shit! I pictured a young Takeshi Kaneshiro as Kai. For the androids, I pictured Rosie from The Jetsons.
If you haven't read this already, you should join the thousands of happy, peppy readers and get a copy of Cinder tomorrow. Hi, Fred! Hi, Ethel!
One of my Top 5 Foreign Language Films (subgenre: drama) is Mostly Martha from Germany. Martha is a sought after, highly regarded chef with exacting...moreOne of my Top 5 Foreign Language Films (subgenre: drama) is Mostly Martha from Germany. Martha is a sought after, highly regarded chef with exacting standards. (I would call her the female Soup Nazi but Germans + Nazi reference... Let's not go there.) In the beginning of the movie, she talks about how the simplest dishes, like salmon in a light basil sauce, are the hardest because there's nothing to disguise or distract from the flavor. It's all about proper seasoning and precise cooking. These basic dishes are how to judge the quality of a chef. Likewise with books, I think the simple, slice of life stories are the hardest. Without big issues or fantastical situations or death, the story comes down to the characters.
Life in Outer Space is about Sam Kinnison and his group of friends as they navigate a year of high school. Sam is a movie obsessed, World of Warcraft playing geek with dreams of being a screenwriter. He's like Dawson Leery minus the giant head and ugly crying. His best friend, Mike, is a black belt in karate. Mike is also a disco dancing, Oscar Wilde reading, Streisand ticket holding friend of Dorothy, know what I'm saying? When Mike first came out to the group, which also includes Adrian and Allison, they did what any self-respecting nerd would do -- they googled. Based on search results, they ended up watching Xanadu, Lesbian Vampire Killers, and Dirty Dancing. Sam narrates,
"We watched Dirty Dancing. Mike fell asleep, but I had to admit I kind of liked it, which made me question my own sexuality, raising a whole heap of other questions I chose not to examine."
Their routine of avoiding jock/terrorist Justin Zigoni and his crew by hiding out in the IT office is compromised when Camilla Carter comes to town. Camilla is Australian by birth but has spent most of her life bouncing around the world with her famous music critic father. Camilla ends up in the IT office her first day because her laptop won't connect to the school's WiFi. Sam, the IT assistant, can't avoid her, especially when she notices his WoW screensaver and writes down her WoW name.
I want to hug this book. If you've read any of my reviews, you know I talk in movie. Sam, with his Top 5 lists, is a kindred spirit. He's also smart, funny, and totally clueless. He reminds me of two of my favorite YA boys: Ed from Graffiti Moon and Sam from Hold Me Closer Necromancer. Camilla is who Zooey Deschanel and Olivia Munn pretend to be. Hell, she's who I want to be! I mean, anyone who can use Sweeney Todd and Dirty Dancing to taunt is my hero. Adrian steals every scene he's in.
This book is about the little victories in life. Nothing earth shattering, just the times when you say yes instead of no. Do you reply back? Do you risk the dining hall? Do you give in to John Cusack??
Melissa Keil writes with a deftness that shows why she won the Ampersand Project. She gets the right mix of heart and humor and uses little details, like the fact that Sam downloads a movie using torrents, to add to the authenticity of the story. Like I said before, I think these types of stories are the hardest to write. However, when done well, they just make you happy that you read them. Life in Outer Space is done well. I can't guarantee that you'll be blown away, but I can say that you'll be glad you said yes instead of no to this.
Favorite quote: "I will shelve this insanity and store away the memory of her in the hope that one day it'll be distant enough to be useful for a screenplay."
When Flannery first recommended this book to me with the promise of Boston and baseball, my exact reaction was, "........" The opening paragraph of he...moreWhen Flannery first recommended this book to me with the promise of Boston and baseball, my exact reaction was, "........" The opening paragraph of her review cracks me up because what I remember most about Boston is: rats. Lots and lots of rats. Since "everywhere" is too general, let me tell you 3 specific places where I saw a rat.
1. Subway (as in Eat Fresh®) 2. California Pizza Kitchen, Prudential Center 3. My dorm room
My friends refused to walk on my left because whenever I saw a rat charging out of the bushes, I'd push them out into the street. Excuse me for trying to save your life! Did no one see the episode of Little House on the Prairie where everyone in Walnut Grove nearly died of typhus?! That wasn't just a TV show, that was a PSA.
Second only to rats in Boston are Red Sox fans. The SAWX. I grew up watching sports (not baseball, as if) but nothing in my life prepared me for Red Sox Nation. I lived 5 minutes away from Fenway Park and got a very rude awakening the first (and only) time I tried to take the T after a game. My PTSD still prevents me from talking about it.
Imagine my surprise when not only did I end up finishing this book, I loved it. It reminded me that aside from the rats and the Sox, Boston was also where I first fell in love, strolled through a park at night while someone played the saxophone, and had a chocolate chip cannoli from Mike's Pastry. (Don't knock it til you've tried it! My love for Mike's has outlasted that first love.) Every so often, I need to be reminded that hope exists. I need it to wrap me in a bear hug and refuse to let go until I surrender because anything less won't work with me. Some Disney magic also helps.
My Most Excellent Year refers to the year Alejandra Perez and a 6-year-old named Hucky entered the lives of T.C. Keller and Augie Hwong. T.C. and Augie declared they were brothers in 1st grade and never looked back. T.C. had just lost his mother and he bonded with the quiet kid who was the one person who didn't look at him like he'd just lost his mother. Of course, Augie didn't stay quiet. Have you ever met a quiet Ethel Merman fan? While Augie shared his love of musicals during their weekly sleepovers, T.C. shared his love of baseball. When Alejandra (that's Alé with an é) transferred to their school freshman year and politely rejected T.C.'s offer to consider a relationship with her, while talking to Augie about musical theater, both boys were goners. Their story is told through journal entries, emails, IMs, and texts.
First, I loved that two of the main characters are minorities. This was such an issue for me growing up, and it's still an issue for me now, but it's so important to see last names like Hwong and Perez and not deal with stereotypical characterizations. Augie is the son of a Chinese immigrant mother and American-born Chinese father. His mother terrorizes the Boston theater community with her reviews for the Globe. Here's a sample of her review of Carousel:
"Nice songs to beat your wife to. Attend at your own risk."
She instilled her love of theater in Augie, but made sure to warn him about Carousel when he was 8. Alé is the daughter of diplomats and her father was the ambassador to Mexico until he accepted a position at Harvard. She's used to hobnobbing (and accidentally insulting) diplomats, actors, and (I'm assuming) Bono. Her closest friend before moving to Brookline was a Secret Service agent.
Second, I loved the fathers in this. T.C.'s dad, Ted, named after Ted Williams naturally, and Augie's dad, Craig, are such presences in their sons' lives. T.C. uses a vocabulary word in one of his journal entries and a few pages later, Ted ends up using the same word in an email to T.C.'s counselor. You can just see T.C. using it around the house with Ted, making up ridiculous sentences along the way.
Third, Augie Hwong is who I tried to get my little brother to be. Yes, the one who is now a big bad cop. I just think children, particularly boys, need a well-rounded education, especially of the musical variety. Also, I knew even back then that he was destined for a career involving weaponry so I wanted to get to him before the mouthbreathers did. Since I controlled the radio in the car (ah, the perks of being the oldest), I played a steady stream of Rent, Les Miserables, and Ragtime. (Wicked came later.) I was so proud when I heard him humming "Would you light my candle?" I was even prouder when Rent the movie came out and he went to watch it on his own.
This book had the same energy of Sorta Like a Rock Star and it was what I hoped Will Grayson Will Grayson would be. The format of journal entries and emails and texts made it an easy, fun read. You don't need to know all (or any) of the baseball and theater references to get this book. Just read a short synopsis of All About Eve so you understand one of my favorite Augie moments. I know it's not perfect, but it had so much heart that like Mary Poppins, My Most Excellent Year is practically perfect in every way.
This is one of the most enjoyable romances I've read. It was funny, it was modern,...moreThis is our inaugural Rory Curtain Review at Young Adult Anonymous.
This is one of the most enjoyable romances I've read. It was funny, it was modern, and MOTHER OF GOD, it was HAWT. Navy SEAL Vince Haven is so hot, I ended up pumping my bestie, who was in the Navy until he was kicked out for being gay (fuckery), over dinner for info on just how swoon-worthy he should be. I am nothing if not thorough!
Me: Are Navy SEALs that hot? Him: Oh yeah. Me: Okay, how hot? Are they hotter than regular Navy guys? Him: Hell yes. They look like elite athletes. Me: There's a scene in the book where Vince picks up a sledgehammer with one hand and just tosses it aside. Real or not real? Him: Real. Me: Can you tell a Navy SEAL from regular Navy guys? Him: Mags, I don't think you're understanding the ELITE ATHLETE part. For example, in the Navy, we did an exercise where we had to carry 40 pound weights in each hand and then stand on our tiptoes. Navy SEALs have to do that AND jump over a bench. Me:drops fork Server:drops mouth Me: So... where do these SEALs hang out?
I had to ask. For the purposes of this review!
Sadie Hollowell is 3 things a woman from Lovett, Texas shouldn't be: 33 years old, single, and flat haired. She left Lovett at 18 and created a nice life for herself selling real estate in Phoenix. A younger cousin's wedding pulls her back to Texas.
Vince Haven is a 36 year old ex-SEAL who left the service after an incident in Afghanistan blew out 60% of his hearing in one ear. Since then, he's invested in businesses while traveling and taking care of his sister and nephew.
Sadie sees Vince stranded on the side of the road into Lovett and ends up reluctantly offering to help -- but not before demanding to see his license and calling his info into her assistant. You know, in case he ends up being a "homicidal maniac, or worse. A Democrat." Even my true blue heart giggled at this because Rachel Gibson sets the light tone early. There's a ton of banter between Sadie and Vince and Sadie and the colorful townspeople. Sadie and Vince find themselves thrown together, yada yada yada, and Vince ends up saying "Hooyah!" during sexytimes. I, along with Sadie, died laughing. There are more sexytimes, more laughs, and some emotional scenes.
One thing that really stood out about this book was how young and modern it felt. There's a Rachel Zoe reference! I usually loathe all reality shows, but I was literally* addicted to the first season of The Rachel Zoe Project. There's also a character named Becca Ramsey, who I choose to believe was a nod to the Baby-Sitters Club character.**
I also liked that Rescue Me was significantly shorter than my usual romance books. It was a fun, quick read.
This was my second time reading Froi of the Exiles and I realized it's the first time I've reread a Melina Marchetta book. That surprised me because t...moreThis was my second time reading Froi of the Exiles and I realized it's the first time I've reread a Melina Marchetta book. That surprised me because they are all amongst my favorites and I buy multiple editions of her books. Then I started reading. And dreaming of Charyn and Froi. (Seriously.) It's the Melina Marchetta Experience. You're completely immersed and transported to her world, whether it's on the Jellicoe Road or in the mountains of Lumatere. (Luci-en!) I'm so emotionally invested in these characters that it's hard to leave. I only need one read for the characters to stay with me. But a funny thing happened during my reread -- by funny thing I mean Tippideaux, of course. I had forgotten some of the fantastic supporting characters. It was such a treat to be reintroduced to them and read the lighter interactions, like Trevanion and Perri constantly being referred to as old.