A wednesday's job is never done as long as Wednesdays are. We heed the clock when it tolls twelve and come from near and far. We're never late -- we cannot be for then we'd miss the door. Neither do we dare to leave till Wednesday is no more.
So start one of the wednesdays' song.
This review will be short and simple because it's been 10 days since I finished this book and I already forgot some of plots of the story. I'll just say that I enjoyed this book. Normally I don't really enjoy middle-grade books because I find them too light for my liking. However, The Wednesdays has enough dark stuff in it. It's kind of paranormal, though I'm not sure if we can really call it that.
As the title suggests, this book goes around the wednesdays. We're talking about both Wednesdays as in the day after Tuesday, and wednesdays as in little paranormal creatures that come out on Wednesday to wreak havoc in Max's village. According to Max, they look like this:
Besides the silver eyes, the wednesday appeared more or less boy-like, in a crooked, simultaneously squished-down, stretched-out sort of way. It looked like a proper boy whose arms had been pulled like taffy, while the rest of his body had been scrunched down into a tubby egg shape with springy, squat legs. [...] The creature's head was mostly head-shaped and -sized, except for the fact that it seemed vaguely square and didn't seem to have the benefit of much of a neck to sit upon. Overall, the thing gave the impression of being rather putty-like.
That's the wednesdays for you.
I really like the idea of them coming out to cause trouble for everyone. It's fun to read, honestly. The elements and plot come together nicely to form an impressive ending. I wouldn't have thought the Wednesday songs could be that important, but Max figures it out, which is awesome. It's a little sad near the end, and I found it very moving.
All in all, great plots, nice illustrations (which really helped me picture the wednesdays more clearly), beautiful writing. A very enjoyable read.
Wednesdays come and wednesdays go but we know something you don't know.
I received the ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for review. (less)
Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through angel eyes.
First off, I have to say that I lack experience in the angels/demons book department, as Angel Eyes is my first. Because of this, I have no other book to judge Angel Eyes against, as well as none to compare to. At first I wasn't so sure about it, seeing as I didn't know of angels/demons books could be for me, but I'm so glad that I put my doubt aside and read this book anyway. It's so good!
Angel Eyes started out pretty weird and confusing for me, not gonna lie here. Before the first chapter begins, there's this little story about someone named Elisha who was the prophet of Dothan and his servant, who was given "eyes that see". Later in the book Elisha is also mentioned, though I really didn't understand. It wasn't until I googled that name because I was hoping there would be some kind of explanation that I realized it's in the Bible. Of course I wouldn't know that. As I'm not a Christian, I'm not familiar with the Bible other than the things about it that I studied in Religion class.
Chapter one starts out with Brielle on the train. Devastated by the murder of her best friend, Ali, she returns home from the city where she's been chasing her dreams. She settles back into the small town she used to live in, only to find that things have kind of changed around here. The friends she used to hang out with are now distant. All except one, Kaylee. Then Brielle meets Jake, the new guy who just moved into town, and they're immediately drawn to each other despite the bickering. Something more than fate has brought them together.
This book is told in mainly three points of view: Brielle's (in first person), Canaan's and Damien's (in third person). I really liked it as it allows the storytelling to exceed the limits of what Brielle perceives. Readers' eyes are not then limited to that rather small perception but can see the big picture of what's going on.
I really liked the story. I feel like I can't just summarize what happens because there's a lot going on, and everything is almost connected, and talking about one thing can't make much sense unless I talk about another thing it's linked to, too, but then that would be revealing too much and ruining all the fun. This is something I love about a book. The mystery keeps you questioning but you don't get the answer right away. It's all these crazy arrows and links pointing to one another. I love how one person leads to another and then leads to someone else. But of course, you don't see everything at first. But when everything comes together, it gives you this overwhelming feeling. I totally love that. And that's what Angel Eyes gave me!
This story is exciting and a little mysterious--not so mysterious it makes you die inside because you need to know so bad, but mysterious enough to make you want to read on and find out what happens and why and how and what's next. As this is my first encounter with an angels/demons book, I have to say I'm already impressed and want to explore more books in this department. However, I feel I need to mention that this book might not be for everyone. It's heavily focused on Christianity. That includes God, angels, demons, heaven and hell. You can almost say Jake is a blind believer. He believes wholeheartedly, but his faith is not something Brielle understands. Brielle cannot bring herself to believe there's actually a God who lets her mother and best friend die, who chooses to save some people but not others, that there are angels protecting humans. It's laughable, she says. Ditto. I was there once (I'm still there). It's hard to believe and the whole idea really sounds laughable when you lose someone you love to death, and there's no one to hear your prayers. I think the use of the belief in this book enriches it. And while reading, I didn't feel like the author tried to shove her belief in my face or anything, which would've been a total turn-off and I'm so glad it didn't happen. I think she did it quite subtly and nicely. I really enjoyed the the theological aspect of this book personally.
The characters in this book feel so natural. I have no problem liking all of those I'm supposed to like, and hating all those I'm supposed to hate. I really liked Brielle and Jake already. I'm pretty sure I almost loved Canaan, and Marco who's labeled potential murderer turns out to be a pretty decent guy. I don't remember picturing the characters a certain way or as someone, but when I accidentally found out about Shannon Dittemore's dream cast, I have to say I agree with her completely. I had to be a creeper and snag some pictures to show you, so you know what I mean.
This is the author's Brielle. Elle Fanning. Good choice! I CANNOT AGREE MORE. But Thomas Dekker as Jake? I'm not sure but it's not impossible.
Alex O'Loughlin as Canaan. Of course. Definitely. Perfect. *swoons*
As I said, I really liked this book, but there are exactly three things that bugged me. But no big deal.
1) If I were in Brielle's position being informed that angels and demons do exist and that (view spoiler)[Jake's guardian is an angel assigned to Earth to protect humans (hide spoiler)], my first reaction would be LOLOLOLOLOL. But Brielle believes it. She accepts it without questioning; she's all oh, okay. It's laughable, but alright. This bugs me, okay? Okay. 2) Jake and Canaan and their big mouths. They're both always ready to spill the beans. They tell Brielle everything without holding back. (view spoiler)[Aren't angels supposed to keep their existence from humans? Yes? No? (hide spoiler)] 3) Brielle changes her mind oh so easily (view spoiler)[about God. Way too easily for someone who's been skeptical all along. (hide spoiler)] This bugs me the most.
Again, I really really liked this book. I can't say that enough. It's well written and engaging and mysterious and addictive and fun and interesting. THE END, though, has got to be the meanest cliffhanger I have come across this year! You can't just end a book like that and expect me to simply go on with my life! I need to know what happens next so bad! I'm glad Angel Eyes is a part of a trilogy and that there'll be two more books coming out 'cause I really just can't get enough! It was such a great read!
She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale: a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that's why it doesn't hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn't hurt, because she's not real anymore.
This is one of those novels I think I might like but end up not liking. I've never read any books that involve eating disorders of any kind before, so I thought this could be a new experience. But it is an understatement to say that I am disappointed.
I didn't like this book. Because of the 3rd person point of view, I couldn't get into the story to begin with. I found it hard to read and it didn't help that it really kind of bored me. But there are other things that endlessly disturb me, like the narrator's thoughts.
The narrator, Sethie Weiss, starts out an anorexic and then becomes a bulimic as the story goes on. Being extremely thin is her idea of beautiful. What really makes me uncomfortable is the fact that she glorifies her eating disorder like she really believes it. Realistic? I don't know. But definitely uncomfortable. She says she loves lying down on the floor and feeling her hipbones pressed against the hard floor, because it's telling her that there's no fat there. This girl is seriously obsessed. There are a lot of scenes where I had to turn my eyes away and scrunch up my face because I was really terrified. Especially the scene where she wants to "cut the fat right out" and "scrape out the fat" with her nails. So what does she do? She scratches her right knee, the place where she makes her scab flick off, and then she leans closer and sucks. Yes, DIY liposuction! Only she doesn't suck out the fat. What comes out is blood, which according to her, is "disappointing." If you want to her if she swallows the blood, no, she doesn't, because "for all she knows, blood might have calories."
This book makes me want to cry big time.
It might be because I couldn't relate to the main character, not having had an eating disorder and all. However I, like most girls, have felt ugly because of my fat. Sure, I used to hate myself and be depressed because of it, but I got over it. The thing is, I don't ever remember having ideas as ridiculous as Sethie's. I don't sleep with a knife under my pillow or mattress. And I sure don't play with it, let alone using it to trace my skin and thinking about cutting it to let out the fat. Which is precisely what Sethie does, among other things like throwing up and starving herself. Like I said, it disturbs me a lot.
Except for disgust, I hardly felt anything reading this book. I didn't find Sethie sympathetic, and I definitely didn't like her. There's no character development whatsoever. It's kind of ironic that, being a realistic young adult novel, there are a few unrealistic aspects. Sethie is supposedly very smart, but she also uses drugs, and lets herself be used for sex. And in the end, she miraculously wakes up. No, it doesn't work for me. If someone has been so stubborn about her behaviors, she doesn't just get up and change herself like that.
After everything I've said, as you might have guessed, I have to give it just one star. The subject matters may sound interesting, but trust me, that's really all there is to it. Unless you want to spend your time reading the wrong book and experience disturbing issues, there are other books for you. I'm definitely not going to recommend this book for anyone.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.(less)
I received this title from NetGalley and Harlequin UK for review.
Well, the truth is I've been sitting here staring at this white blank page for like two to three hours. I'm trying to think about my true feeling, but I can't quite put my fingers on what it is. It's definitely not ZOMG-what-is-this-omg-omg-omg that undoubtedly comes with five shiny stars, but it's somewhere between I-liked-it-but-I'll-soon-forget-about-it 3 stars, and this-has-made-a-huge-impression-on-me-and-I-was-thoroughly-entertained 4 stars. Hmmmm... I'd wanted to read New Girl since last year, and was pretty sure I'd love it, too. And now that I've read it... I'm not sure. While I did enjoy it tremendously, I couldn't say I was very impressed, and I'm pretty sure I'll soon forget about it and won't look back once it slips my working memory. It's like while you're reading it, you just enjoy everything in the moment, and it's great, because the story keeps you hooked. However, once it ends, you begin to look at the big picture, and you feel like it's good, but just not that great.
New Girl by Paige Harbison is a story about two new girls at two different periods of time. Last year, the new girl was Rebecca Normandy, aka Becca, who went missing at the end of the school year, and hasn't been seen ever since. With Becca gone, her spot at Manderly boarding school opened up, and is then taken by this year's new girl, who is known as just New Girl until her real name is revealed at the end of the book. The two girls can't be any more different. While they all loved Becca, the people at Manderly are always giving New Girl a hard time, saying things to hurt her, whispering behind her back. They even accuse her of trying to be Becca, and of trying to hook up with Becca's two love interests Max and Johnny, who used to be best friends until Becca happened. They don't bother to really get to know her, but if they did, they would know that she and Becca are kind of from different species and New Girl isn't trying to be like her.
I think the story is great! It's told in two points of view: New Girl's (in first person) and Becca's (in third person), and that really allows us to look beyond the surface and perceive the thoughts that are running through their heads. New Girl is a very addictive book, and the fact that I had to read it on my computer screen surprisingly didn't scare me away. I couldn't avert my gaze. The book kept me glued to my seat and unable to go to bed. That counted for something, surely. It's this mystery of not knowing whether Becca is just gone or dead or whether she's coming back or not, which runs in the background in the book, that kept me wanting to know more.
I really liked how the book shows a clash of two new girls' personalities. Becca is all about appearance. She's always seeking attention and wants to outshine everyone else to feel good about herself. She makes a lot of effort to make chasing boys look effortless and look as if she is being pursued and not the other way around. But of course, the people at Manderly don't know this, and they don't care. They adore her because she's pretty and fun and wild, and they're affected even by her mere presence. They believe everything she says, even though most of that is lies she spreads to make herself look good. Can you even believe that she buys a present for herself and tells everyone that Max gives it to her? Anything for appearance, yes. New Girl, on the other hand, doesn't want anything more than everyone to stop comparing her to Becca, to be left alone for once and get Max' attention.
Did you notice how I wrote the previous paragraph? Yep, I didn't feel like I knew New Girl as well as I knew Becca. That's one thing I didn't really like about the book. I had a feeling the author focused too much on making New Girl a victim that her character becomes really outshone by Becca's (which I think Becca would really like). And after a while, the victimization kind of gets old. I mean, I felt for New Girl at first, I know it must hurt. But then it gets repetitive, what with the insults and the whispering and Dana the nutcase breaking down and all. I recalled her often complaining about being compared to Becca, and saying "I'm not trying to be her!" or "I don't want to be her!" or "I don't even know her!" far too many times. I only started seeing that after I finished the book. I looked at the picture and saw what I failed to see when I was caught up in what was going on.
I really enjoyed Paige Harbison's writing and the characters she built. But as I said, I felt like I didn't know New Girl as the main character as well as I'm supposed to. Aside from the facts that she grew up in St. Augustine in Florida and has wanted to attend a boarding school since childhood because of Harry Potter's Hogwarts, and that she has wavy hair, tanned skin, and freckles, I don't know anything else about her or her personalities. Becca, on the other hand, is very well portrayed. She's evil, and we get to know all her evil, jealous thoughts in her head. She's an attention seeker, a compulsive liar, and a manipulative b*tch person. She uses all kinds of manipulations to get what she wants: blackmailing, sex, lies, you name it. It's kind of disgusting, really, but Becca is such a strong character that it's hard not to be drawn to her. Becca's two love interests at Manderly are Max and Johnny. Now, I don't understand why the girls are crazy for Max. Well, he's hot, okay I get that, but he's a bit of a jerk. He's almost always swearing and ignores them, and he's also aggressive and violent. Johnny is the endearing one. He's so sweet that I felt bad for him for being attracted to Becca. Then there's Dana whom I sort of hate. Dana was Becca's roommate and is now New Girl's roommate. She hates New Girl and is always giving her a hard time, always yelling and breaking down, and shoving her care for Becca in people's faces. Dana needs to calm down and back off. She's friggin' annoying, okay. I have to say I'm quite impressed by how each character gives me all these different feelings.
Right, I'll need to leave the house in like 5 minutes so I'm going to wrap it up real quick. New Girl is a fun novel. Its mystery and suspense will keep you hooked until the very end. I really enjoyed it! An exciting and mysterious read worth reading!(less)
I received the ARC of this title from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
From now on, I'll make it a point to review a book right after I finish it, or maybe a day afterwards. But not three day like this. By the time I felt like reviewing Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, I had already forgot a lot of things. That makes reviewing a little more difficult. This is a bad habit I have to kill very soon. Well, enough chit chat haha.
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe is one of the very light and fun reads for teens rather than young adults. It is obviously about teenager Chloe Camden, who likes to think she's Queen of the Universe. And yes, she is. he looks like she's the girl who has it all. She's perpetually optimistic, happy, friendly, and talkative. Queen Chloe is the center of attention. Wherever she is, there's fun and laughter. She makes people smile when they're sad and makes them laugh. Chloe has two best friends whose names I had to pause 5 seconds to recall. Right, their names are Brie and Merce. Chloe says they're a perfect trio because Brie is the beauty, Merce is the brains, and she is all personality. According to Chloe, together they're whole. Chloe works part-time at a Mexican restaurant called Dos Hermanas, wearing a burrito costume and handing out flyers--a job she enjoys very much. It looks like everything's going well for Chloe, the girl who's always happy and doesn't have to worry about anything. But then one day thing start going downhill for our little Queen.
That day, while enjoying herself as a burrito outside the restaurant, doing what she does best--getting noticed by people, Brie drives by. Chloe cheerfully walks over to talk to her best friend only to be told she's so self-centered Brie can't stand it, and that she's the last person tearful Brie wants to talk to. Then Chloe comes home to find WWIII in her house. On top of all that, A. Lungren, the school counselor, wants Chloe to choose a new topic for her JISP (Junior Independent Study Project) because she deems Chloe's shoe project lacking.
For Chole's new JISP, she's to join the school's low-wattage, student-run radio station, KDRS 88.8 The Edge, which needs promotions help. Ditched by her two best friends, Chloe now hangs out with the crowd working in this radio station. There Chloe befriends Clementine, the ever-upset manager with a nose ring; Duncan, the guy who loves fixing things; Frick and Frack; and Haley, the film reviewer. They work together to save The Edge from getting shut down by the school and lack of fund. It's true that it starts out as a necessity, but then it turns into friendship as they learn to trust each other and the time they spend in the station bonds them together.
Chloe is a fantastic protagonist. I think I'd love to have her as a friend. Her personality and attitude are what's really outstanding in this little novel. I love how Chloe can still remain herself while learning to cope with problems crashing down on her. She can make the best of a bad situation. An optimist that she is, she values fun and laughter. She learns to be a better friend, to be there for her friends when they need her. She reaches out to people through her radio shows and wins their hearts all over again after the lies Brie tells to turn people against her. I really love this about Chloe.
Duncan Moore is also a great character. At first he seems mysterious, always quiet, and doesn't say much if not necessary, but after a while he opens up to Chloe, letting down his guard. Chloe learns that Duncan lives a totally different life from hers, the kind of life a great guy like Duncan shouldn't have to live. I totally feel for him. Together they fulfill each other: Duncan needs a sunshine in his gloomy life, and the little miss sunshine herself could really use a guy with a romantic heart like him.
Another character I really like is Chloe's grandmother, whom she calls Grams. Grams loves Brad Pitt and is a big fan of Brad's sexy "heinie". Hahaha. Grams is funny. Though you can't tell by looking at her, she's suffering from Parkinson's disease. She loses her temper quite often and does unreasonable things, and that causes the conflicts between her and Chloe's mom. Chloe takes care of Grams and Grams looks after Chloe. Sometimes I couldn't help but feel for Grams, too. It's sad that a free spirit like her has to be affected by the disease that's slowly changing her.
I have to say the author did a great job creating the characters and this cute story. Although it isn't that focused on the radio station as I first expected and would like it to, the outcome is great. This is a story about a girl who shines brightly, and in the meantime lights up other people's worlds as well. All in all, while there are quite a number of conflicts like friendship, family and love present, this book isn't heavy at all. This is probably not one of the deep, profound books that will stay in your heart for a long time, but it's one that you might want to read if you need to take your mind off things for a while and need a laugh. Told in Chloe's bubbly, cheerful voice, this novel is ever so light and easy and very fun to read. :-) (less)
A digital copy of this book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley for review.
What if your whole life was a lie? One Planet. Two Worlds. Population: Human ... 7 billion. Others ... unknown.
Talisman of El is a debut book from Alecia Stone. It's a fantasy fiction for the children to young adult age groups, but really, anyone can read it. This is one of the most gripping novels I've read this year and I very much enjoyed it.
Charlie Blake, aged 14, is an orphan. When he gets adopted by Jacob, who's being real nice to him, he thinks maybe he's finally found the place he belongs. Charlie's always been hearing weird noises that seem to come out of nowhere and having weird visions and nightmares, but what he doesn't know is that it's not because he's a freak, but because he's different. There are things he doesn't know about his past and the world, and he doesn't realize that until one day he runs into a man he's been having nightmares about, who has the Talisman of El. The man, Derkein, is in search of open gateways to Arcadia, the world beneath the surface of Earth. Derkein takes Charlie, Alex and Richmond with him on an exciting and unpredictable adventure to find and enter Arcadia. There they meet the Arcadians, and Charlie gets to learn about his past and who he really is, and then comes the time when he realizes that the future of mankind lies in his hands.
It seems like that's all much I can say in this review without including spoilers. Talisman of El had me hooked since page one. It's a mysterious and adventurous and kept me wanting to know more. This action-packed fantasy is very well written. I love how one thing just leads to another and another and how the story seems to endlessly progress, always surprises and twists and turns. The characters are very well portrayed and I love the connection between them. I was quite surprise to see mythology in this book as well, but it only adds to the awesomeness of the book.
Although there were times when I felt like this book was longer than it really needed to be, it wasn't a big deal and didn't really bother me. I recommend this book to those of you who love fantasy and adventure, as this book is full of them!
Talisman of El is the first book in a planned trilogy. The second book, currently untitled, is expected to come out in 2013. (less)
No, Caro, you don't understand. You don't even try to understand. You live in a world that revolves completely around you, and you never once, not even for a second, try to see what other people might be experiencing or feeling. You just never think about anyone else, and it's beneath you.
The Opposite of Hallelujah is one of those books that take me pretty much by surprise. I'd go in expecting one thing and end up getting another. I don't usually handle long books well, but this one didn't feel long to me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was constantly interested in the characters and the story. I found this book to be quite well written.
As I finished this book eleven days ago, I found it hard to try to recall what I wanted to say about it once I was done reading it. I don't remember much, so this review is going to be short and, hopefully, straight to the point.
This story is about a lot of things: sisterhood, friendship, family, religion, and coming to terms with the past—holding on to it and letting it go. And I enjoyed that a lot. I liked how the author put those things together and made it work. Watching Caro learn a lot of things and grow up in a lot of ways before my eyes was a good experience. I think the author did a very nice job portraying Caro as a stubborn brat who doesn't care much about anyone, and developing Caro's character gradually until she becomes an opposite of herself. I liked how she stands up for herself even when everyone else backs out of her life. She doesn't beg; she needs no one's help; and she's determined to figure things out on her own. Unraveling Hannah's past was also thrilling. Not only that, but also learning how that past affects her choices, making her become the person she is today. A lot of that has to do with her faith in Christianity. I usually don't like it when religion plays a big role in books, but this one doesn't seem preachy. It's not trying to make a point, but just giving food for thoughts, and that was good enough for me. More than the plot, I enjoyed the characters and their development throughout the story. The author's prose kept me going and captivated.
------------------------ I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.(less)
No matter how loud the world gets, sometimes a single voice can be heard. I was first interested in this book because it's about World War II, and because someone said it is like The Book Thief, which is my number 3 most favorite book of all time. And when someone makes a comparison like this, I couldn't help but feel the need to check this book out, as it could be the next best thing that would happen to me for all I knew.
But it wasn't. It's not bad, but it's nowhere near as life-changing or sublime as Markus Zusak's masterpiece. It does have some lovely quotes that I highlighted, but other than that I didn't like anything particular about it. I wasn't into the story—I found the idea that small children can make a difference a bit too optimistic and far-far-fetched. I was turned off by this notion, to be honest. Maybe this is because I didn't feel like the story portrays it convincingly enough, or well enough, or just enough. And in the end, I didn't believe they make any significant differences at all, and I mean at all, so that renders the title, A Thunderous Whisper, and what it stands for kind of invalid to me. And unlike The Book Thief's, the characters in this book aren't outstanding enough to secure a place in my heart. Most of the time I was just irritated by Ani and her mother.
This was an okay read to me. It's not that boring, not that bad, but also not that good. I expected it to be more interesting, but it sadly didn't measure up.
------------------------ I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.(less)
"How would you like to meet William Shakespeare?" A laugh burst from my mouth. "You're crazy."
When time-traveler Stephen Langford chooses Miranda as the one to take back to the 16th century to save young William Shakespeare from becoming a Jesuit, she doesn't have a choice but to go along with him. Once there, Miranda has to learn to adapt to the way of life of the people in that century, and she also has to pretend to be Stephen's sister, Olivia, while the real one is sick at home. Her mission here is to seduce her idol William Shakespeare, to make him realize that he's a guy suited for worldly things, and that the religious path is not for him. If she succeeds, she can save Shakespeare from being hunted down for being a Jesuit, and she can also save all of Shakespeare's works in the future from vanishing, and save the future forever.
I'll try to keep this review short and simple for there isn't much to say. I didn't expect anything when I started this book, so I wasn't disappointed. It's pure fun and a good break from all the crazy stuff going in my life right now. It's one of those enjoyable books you don't expect to get anything out of, which you don't anyway even if you try.
Some of the plots aren't very well-executed. I'd love to know more about Stephen's time traveling, which the author gives me no chance to. There's a scene where Miranda dresses herself as a boy and everyone believes her. Eh? And then there's this huge plothole that bothered me. The author has Stephen tell Miranda that the time she belongs in won't move on without her -- when she returns, it will be as if no time has passed. As a believer of logic, I wasn't satisfied with this explanation. But I knew this was all I was going to get.
The characters are flat and mediocre. I regret to say that Shakespeare doesn't play the main role in this story. I kept picturing him like this and cringed every time because it wasn't fitting. This book talks about the younger Shakespeare, of course. And when I pictured him with Miranda, he looked like a pedobear to me. This problem is caused by the fact that the author doesn't bother telling us about any character's appearances. I don't know if this was intentionally done or she just forgot. The 16th century is hard enough to picture, and I'd love to know what the characters look like.
I like the ending. Love doesn't always have to work out, you see. I think this ending leaves a lingering haunting feeling, which is much better than if it'd gone for the happily-ever-after. I'm tired of authors trying to make impossible love work. I find the ending especially refreshing.
"As much as it hurts to admit it, I knew he was right. I would love him with all my heart, but in the end, it wouldn't be enough. I'd long for everything I couldn't have, and that would kill the love between us. Not right away, but someday."
This is the best part of the book in my opinion.
Looked at in parts, the elements of this book don't seem to work, but together they do. I don't know why and I don't know how to explain. It just works, unless you expect it to be spectacular. If you don't think much about it, you might find it enjoyable and light and fun. But that's really just about it.
I received the digital version of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review.(less)
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
This one definitely took me by surprise. I didn't expect much, and...moreI received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
This one definitely took me by surprise. I didn't expect much, and I came away more than satisfied. Candace Fleming's On the Day I Died is fun, spooky, and.. well, fun. Absolutely fun.
It's not exactly a short story collection although it is full of short stories. Let's put it this way: this book is a collection of short stories about how each one of the characters died. Mike, the only living character in the book, visits a cemetery one night to return a pair of shoes to a dead girl he ran into earlier that night. He's surprised when he sees that the ghosts that come out to welcome him were all teenagers. One of the ghosts starts telling a story of how he died, and when he finishes, another one tells his story, then another, and another, and another. This book therefore consists of 8 short stories that link back and forth between Mike's present and the time of their death, with Mike being the only audience.
The little tales are surprisingly spooky but in no way too dark. I felt uncomfortable and panicky when I read this at night. One little sound in the silent night could lead me into thinking if my house caught fire, or remind me of the haunted asylum I just read about. I shuddered at the images that were created in my head. I heard sounds that only I could hear. The voices of these ghosts haunted me in my sleep. This book is haunting and so much fun, even though I think it's quite pointless. The story really goes nowhere, and nothing is done. But the fact that it's a light and fun read makes it very enjoyable. (less)
I received the ARC of this book from NetGalley and Random House Children's Books
I should probably start with the blood.
The Book of Blood and Shadow is a love/hate for me. I'm going to be extremely honest here because that's the only way I know to write a review. I hated it, folks, but I also really liked it. It was a struggle for what seems like half the book. A lot of struggle, in fact. It took me a week to finish it, if that's any indication. The first five days reading it were a torture, and I was desperate to give up. You might wonder why I didn't abandon it for good. Well, the reason as to why I held on for so long was because I'm a chronic book finisher, not because I believed something good would come out of this book. I rarely ever give up on books. I persevered. I pushed myself, forced myself to go on, and at the same time whined about how bad it was. I was ready to write an extremely negative review.
However, the second half came as a huge blow. It was so good I couldn't put it down. It kept me up until dawn and kept me on the edge of my seat. Se mysterious, so exciting. So full of suspense! I don't understand why the first half has to be so bad when the second half is this good. I asked myself whether I could forgive that. The answer is no. It's totally not cool to write a book that's a torture to read, even only half of it, for that matter. Books should always be enjoyable. It shouldn't have to make readers push that far in order to get to the good parts. This I cannot forgive.
I can't tell you how glad I was to discover that it wasn't just me. I've seen quite a few readers give up on this book because of exactly the same reasons. I'm going to tell you now, so that you can decide for yourself whether you'd want to read it or not, in case you haven't yet. Please note that these are my personal honest opinions and a lot of readers don't necessarily feel this way about the book. Here we go. The first half of the book (200 something pages) was a torture for me for these reasons. First, nothing is really happening. I swear, it's true. How can it be that nothing happens in 200 something pages, right? Well it turns out it can. Nora Kane, the main character, talks about her being assigned to translate a dead girl's letters from Latin to English and complains that she deserves a much more exciting assignment than that, blah blah blah. She talks about her dead brother whose significance I still can't see, about her dysfunctional family, about things that don't add up to the story and I wondered why she even tells, about her best friends Chris and Adriane and their getting together, and about Max and her. She annoyingly repeats and reminds me that Chris is dead. I mean, girl, I get it the first time you mention it, now stop. Her translation of the letters is the only thing significant in the first half of the book. Hmm... It really shouldn't have taken that many pages.
Second, I didn't feel connected to the characters. What's more, I couldn't even keep track of who's who! It was frustrating! At first I thought Chris was Nora's brother, and then I thought he was her boyfriend. It didn't make sense. The author presents you with characters but doesn't tell you about them when the name first comes up. It's like: Chris is dead. And then the narration moves on. I was like, what? Who the hell is Chris? And then Nora talks about her brother and that led me to thinking Chris was her brother. Ugh. I had to go back to page one, guys, to reread. It was that confusing. Not only Chris, but other characters as well, like the Hoff. You had no idea how many times I pulled my hair and wanted to scream. Although I don't remember it very clearly, I think too little background information about each character is provided. That's why I felt like they were kept at arm's length away from me. I couldn't get to them. Man, I didn't even like Nora. I'm not even sure if I like her now. I didn't care about any of them. Okay, maybe I cared about Chris, but it didn't last long, 'cause as Nora often reminds me one too many times: He's dead.
The last infuriating thing about the first half of the book is the writing (it is much better in the second half). So many things I didn't like about it. 1) As you might have guessed, the first half is tremendously slow-paced, if not no-paced at all. I found myself bored out of my mind and put it down far too many times than I cared to count. It was that boring as nothing's really happening. 2) The sentences are pointlessly long. Like, REALLY long. Friggin' I-forgot-how-it-started-and-I'm-so-lost-I-wonder-where-it's-gonna-take-me long. Much longer than they really need to be. There are a lot of dashes interrupting a sentence and when the interruption ends I forgot how the sentence started out and therefore the part after the dash made no sense to me. There's also the issue with the commas. Can't they be written in a new sentence or something? Having to re-read can be very frustrating. 3) What's with all these dependent clauses floating alone? Annoying. 4) Some chapters seem never-ending, while some only contain no more than three lines. WHY? Weird huh.
Wow. I don't know what came over me hahahaha. That's long. Anyway, despite these long harsh complaints aka the hate, there are also good things about this book aka the love. Funny how I spent the first five days hating it only to spend the last two days on the edge of my seat. I won't take back what I said because it's true, I really hated it, but you have to know that I really liked it at the same time too. There is only one reason as to why: The second half of the book is EXTREMELY EXCITING, as opposed to the first half. Guys, I am serious. I don't recall with which incident things started looking up, but it was on page 222 that I first realized it was getting better.
I'm clueless how to define my EXTREMELY EXCITING... Um... Let's say it's full of mystery and suspense. You don't know what's going to happen next. The thrilling adventure in Prague might just be the only good thing about this book, but it suffices. There are a lot of unexpected turns of events. The discovery of new clues only make the story more unpredictable. The action-packed plot is complicated and I have to admit I don't always understand it and catch up with it, but the excitement makes up for that.
I guess this is the end of this review. As I said earlier, it's a love/hate for me. Although it looks like I'm better at saying negative things than positive, and I suppose it's true, I assure you that the good part is definitely worth reading. However, I can't say if it's worth it to push through the bad part just to get there. You have to decide that yourselves. ;) It's such a shame that The Book of Blood and Shadow doesn't start off well. I wish I could say the good part makes up for all of the bad one, but I really can't. The torture was really too much. If I were to recommend this book to anyone, it would be the second half of the book that I would want them to read.
PS. I found The Book of Blood and Shadow playlist. Here's the link if you're interested. (less)
An ARC of this title was provided by the author for review.
Unfortunately, I am only myself. I am only Amy Fleishman. I am one of the legions of middle-class white girls who search malls for jeans that make them look thinner, who search drugstores for makeup to wear as second skin, who are as sexy and exotic as blueberry muffins ... and one of the only girls I know to get arrested on prom night.
I think I've learned at some point in my high school life that opening sentences are very important, as it has to "entice the reader and sets the subject, the tone and possibly the style for the whole work". Honestly, I've never paid that much attention to opening sentences of the books I've read in the past, though there are quite a few lines that caught my eyes and are still stuck in my head. The opening sentences of Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein, which I just showed you, are one of those very few that have made an impression on me, making me feel connected to the main character right away. There's something about the voice of Amy Fleishman in those sentences that reflects her endless insecurities and pessimism and angst, which I think is also the voice of many high school girls struggling to feel comfortable in their own skin, and all the while wishing they could be perfect. It's so real. And to me, that's what's so haunting about these sentences.
Pretty Amy tells the story of Amy Fleishman, high school senior. We're introduced to Amy on the prom night that changes everything. Amy and her best friends Lila and Cassie are all ready to go to the prom, but their dates never show. Frustrated, Lila breaks into her boyfriend's house and takes back with her a huge bag of pot, which is quite a stupid thing to do, because later that night they're arrested for possession. It's a night of frustration, anger, and disappointment, and their lives start going separate ways and downhill after that.
Amy's mother doesn't handle the arrest very well. It can be said that the relationship between Amy and her mother isn't very healthy. There's a lot of forcing, crying, tantrums throwing, and banning. For one thing, she takes away her cellphone and prohibits any contacts with Lila and Cassie. And then she hires a lawyer for Amy, for whose service Amy will have to pay on her own with the money she will earn from working at a convenient store (or was it a supermarket? I'm not sure), which is one of the things her mother forces her to do. To make things worse, Amy now has to visit a therapist who encourages Amy to talk when she doesn't want to. No, that's not all. On top of all that, she has to do community service, which turns out to be not a very good experience for our Amy at all.
The story of Amy Fleishman is quite a series of misfortunes. I really like it. I was hooked from the very first sentence. It's incredibly engaging and kept me wanting to know more, wanting to see how Amy will handle the situations she finds herself in. I could sense teenage angst on every page of the book. I found myself wishing the best for Amy and furious at her mother and was glad that mine isn't like that. Although I can't exactly relate to the story, it's Amy I can relate to, and I believe that it's true to a lot of girls, too.
Amy is a fantastic, strong character with a unique sarcastic voice of her own. Bad things keep happening to this girl, and in the middle of all that, she struggles to stand on her own feet and become herself, after years of following whatever Lila and Cassie do. Amy used to be a nobody with a real friend, Joe, before she met Lila and Cassie. She was sick of blending in with the crowd, the face that didn't stand out. She wanted to be cool, to be different. When she starts hanging out with beautiful Lila and kickass Cassie, she ditches Joe and allows herself to form her shape around them. She picks up their habits like smoking. She feels like there's a place she belong when she's with them.
But does being with "cool" friends make her feel less insecure? No, not really. Amy still has very low self-esteem. I think she feels intimidated by Lila and Cassie that she wants someone to tell her that she's as good as them, too. She often needs reassurance that she's pretty and that there's someone worse off than she is. She does things and say words she feels she's supposed to do and say and she doesn't confront. You'd think hanging out with Lila and Cassie would boost up her self-confidence, but it's actually the opposite. That's kind of sad. But who cares, right? Being with the cool people make you look cool, and appearance is really what matters, isn't it?
Poor Amy. She's spent so much time with them and trying to become of one them that she doesn't quite know who she is anymore. Now, what happens when they're taken away and she's not allowed to see them or talk to them? She's lost, and doesn't know what to do. But there's nothing she can do now except to find herself again. I totally understood how difficult it is to try to do that after having thrown it away in order to fit in and be accepted. And Amy accomplishes that. She rises and stands up tall and fights for herself, as she has to do what she has to do.
Maybe it takes encountering a dire situation together to know who your real friends are.
Lisa Burstein's writing in this book is impressive. Her words are very cleverly used. Lisa gave Amy just the right voice, the voice of a teenager who's struggling to be heard, who feels lost and scared and alone. You can tell Amy's feelings just by looking at things she says. There are a lot of lines that I've highlighted just because they're pure brilliance on Lisa's part. Sometimes they can make you laugh because they're so funny, and some other times they make you chuckle or snort because it's so true and the truth is ugly. Pretty Amy is undoubtedly very well-written. I think that's all I have to say about Lisa Burstein's amazing writing skill. I'm expecting great things from her in the future!
Pretty Amy: A great realistic young-adult book, one that should not be missed!(less)
I received the ARC of this title from Egmont USA for review.
Grimm fairytales come to life, curses and gifts are awakened, and Mira is destined to meet her fate...
Kill Me Softly is the first fairy tale retelling that I've ever read. To me, it's really unique and intriguing and extremely amazing. It falls into the category of books whose synopsis you shouldn't read first, but should just dive right in for full effect. That's what I did, and I was glad that I entered the world of Kill Me Softly without a clue about what it is about and what's possibly going to happen. When things do happen, it totally blew my mind! But if you've already made the mistake of reading the summary, it's still totally fine. Now you know what this book is about, but you're still going to be knocked off your feet anyway.
Girls became victims and heroines. Boys became lovers and murderers. And sometimes... they became both.
We're first introduced to Mirabelle Lively, or Mira for short, just a week before her sixteenth birthday. She lives with two godmothers, Elsa and Bliss. Mira's godmothers are very protective of her, and insanely strict. They don't allow her to ride in a car unless an adult is driving; shave her legs; date; and most importantly, they refuse to let her visit the city where she was born. This she can't accept. While they are excited and planning the party for her, Mira is distracted. She can only think about leaving them and running away to Beau Rivage to find her parents' graves.
Of course, she doesn't know what she's walking into. In Beau Rivage she encounters a lot of strange things like places named after those in fairy tales, and meets strange people who will become her friends. Mira's always been aware and self-conscious about the mark that looks like a wheel at her back, and she is shocked to see that these people she now hangs out with have marks too, only different ones. She asks around and finds out what the marks are for, and what they represent, and then she knows everyone's destiny, including her own. And then she also realizes the reason why her godmothers don't allow her to touch anything sharp.
Sarah Cross' Kill Me Softly is absolutely breathtaking. I don't normally enjoy dark novels, but this one's an exception. It's just amazing. This book wastes no space in giving you what you're looking for in a good book: well-developed story, appropriately-paced story telling, awesome characters, and beautiful writing. Moreover, this book is packed with mystery and suspense and secrets and surprises that keep you on the edge of your seat (and keep me up until 4 am in my case)! How can you not love it? How? How?
This novel has a very well-developed story. Every information given is relevant at some points. No nonsense. I love how Sarah Cross drops hints and clues while building up the story but you don't know what they mean until they come together with something else later in the book! And you can't help but be like, I should've seen that coming! This book also has a good pace. It's not too long, and it's not too short; it's not too fast, and not to slow; it's just right. Just exactly how it needs to be. Not many books are like that, you know. This is brilliant.
I also love that Sarah Cross takes the Brother Grimms' originally and exceptionally dark fairy tales and blend them together to create such a wonderful book. Unlike Disney that softens everything, the author remains true to the original tales and makes them work. Bravo!
The characters in this novel are all great. None of them feels flat. Normally I'm not a fan of books with too many characters, but again, this is an exception. Every one of them adds up to the book very well, spicing it up and all that. Mira has a strong voice. She's different when she's with different people. I especially love when Mira and Blue are together. Either they're always bickering, saying sarcastic remarks, fighting, or they're being all sweet and honest and sweet and did I say that already? Well, yeah. If you read this book, you'll know what I mean. Blue's constantly warning Mira to stay away from Felix, acting like a jerk to keep her from liking him (for a reason), and all the while he's falling in love with her. Ah, the tension between these two! Love, love, love it! I'm pretty sure you'll like other characters as well. Someday-my-princess-will-come Freddie, Layla the Beauty, white-as-snow Viv, etc.
Other than a fantastic story and incredible characters, this book is also beautifully written. It can't get any better than this. Sarah Cross' writing had me going wow a lot of times. See this and you'll know what I mean:
It was hard to be honest, to open up, and reveal something that sounded crazy. Because once you told someone the truth, that person had a piece of you--and they could belittle it, destroy it. The could turn your confession into a would that never healed.
That's my favorite quote from the book.
Also Mira and Felix' love scene (about 43% far into the book) had me melt into a puddle of goo. Seriously.
And now, we've come to the end of this review. I don't think I can say anything more about this book without praising it. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross deserves 5 shiny stars for its brilliance (there I said it again). Read this book. You won't be disappointed. You have my word. :)(less)
I received an e-copy from NetGalley and Tanglewood for review.
A very cute book!
The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies isn't a story book. It doesn't have main characters or any stories at all. It's just, as the title suggests, a "guide" to tracking fairies. So you shouldn't expect to read a story about a little girl trying to catch fairies or whatever.
However, this book is still very fun to look at! There are pictures on every page, and there's also some text. The text only acts like a guide which talks about places where fairies are found. What I really like is that there are usually two to four pictures of the same place. In that case, the first picture is always a real photo taken with a camera which shows children's fingers pointing to something like a rock or a pile or grass, and then the next pictures will be the that of the same place zoomed-in, in different angles, with colorful little fairies edited in.
I especially like the drawn fairies! The colorful illustrations are very well done and blend in perfectly with the real photographs. Details are extraordinary.
I guess this book tries to tell us that fairies or magical things are everywhere around us, we just have to "really look". ;) I really like it! (less)
I received an e-copy from NetGalley and Tanglewood for review.
WOLF CAMP is a children picture book about a girl named Maddie. One day Maddie shows her mother a flyer for Wolf Camp. It says: "Put your child in the wilds." And then Maddie is gone for two weeks. The first day she writes home a letter saying that it's weird at the camp. On the second day she writes again to tell her parents that she likes it there. After that her parents don't receive any letters again, so they assume she's having fun at the camp!
When Maddie gets back from the camp, her behaviors have changed noticeably, such as when her dog, the collie, sniffs her, she sniffs back! She also growls and runs after a squirrel and howls. She's not herself anymore!
At first I read this book on my Kindle, and thought it was totally weird. On the Kindle, the pictures are black and white and very small. But when I opened the file on my computer to read, it's different! Two pages on each side are connected and the story suddenly makes more sense and becomes easier to follow. With full-color everything is better too! I didn't like the illustrations when I saw them on the Kindle but now I do. They're quite nice. I especially like the coloring. It looks like watercolor on some pages, but I'm not sure. The colors really makes the pictures stand out and seem real. (less)
I received the digital ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
I slide on the sunglasses, covering my dazzling green eyes. Because this dream is so bright, I gotta wear shades.
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire tells a story of Annie Nutter, daughter of Mel and Emily Nutter, who wishes she lived a different life. When Mel comes up with a cool invention called Picture Perfect, Annie literally wakes up in the morning to a different life--the one she wishes for--in a parallel universe. Annie is now living Ayla Monroe's life which is different from her own in most ways except that she still has the same mother, but now Emily Monroe instead of Nutter. Finally living the perfect life she always wishes for, Annie finds herself missing her Nutter family more than ever.
I liked this book. It's fun. I didn't expect much in the first place so I wasn't disappointed. I really like the idea of time travel and parallel universe in this book. I used to be interested in quantum physics, too. The way they all fit together and create a plot for this story is well thought out. Although there are still some things that don't quite make sense, it doesn't affect my enjoyment because it's so much fun.
"Be careful what you wish for," I think, is what this book tries to say. We must've all been in Annie's position at least once in our lives. Sometimes we wish we were something we're not, the better version of ourselves, or someone else entirely. We wish our lives were different, we wish we had money, we wish for success and happiness. The only difference is that Annie gets it. This book explores the idea of "perfect life" really well. The way Annie's character develops throughout the story is nicely done. She goes from a nobody wishing she was a somebody, to a pretty, rich, A-list girl perfection missing her old life and family. Maybe perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be. But oh, the length people would go to achieve perfection, not knowing that maybe the price can be too high.
Another idea I really liked about this book is the "what if" and "what could've been". Sure, as human beings, we wonder all the time. What if I was born to a rich family? What if I had married a rich guy? Oh, I could've been living in that big house with so much money I wouldn't have to work for the rest of my life. These kinds of things. In this book, Annie is doing the wishing while her mother is responsible for the what-if's and what-could've-been's. I found it heart-breaking to have second thoughts when you look back at your life. The way you wish you hadn't made that decision, the way you wonder about the differences you could've made. And again, this book shows that maybe you're better off where you are now. Maybe it's all for the better.
Near the end of the book, I was so much into the story that it was so emotional. Annie is torn between two choices. Will she stay or will she go? In a way, this Ayla Monroe life is perfect. Well, maybe it's not "perfect" perfect, but it's definitely a good quality life, despite broken family and no real friendship. That Annie Nutter life, on the other hand, is full of mess but with loving family and a best friend.
As you can see, I really liked many ideas in the book, but there's one that I didn't like. It's a decision Charlie and his family make. I think it weakens all the thought-provoking messages the book has been sending out up to one point. Running away from the problem, after everything the book has been saying, comes as a let-down for me.
The characters are fun to read about and get to know. I like the way Annie learns to live and adjust to Ayla's lives while still trying to maintain herself. Charlie is one of the sweetest fictional characters I've ever read about. He's good-looking and very smart, but he's not welcome at school because of his background. He doesn't like bitchy queen bee Ayla, but Annie is good at heart, and Charlie can see that, and that's what he loves about her.
"Yes, you are pretty, and when you pictured perfect, you came damn close, but the part of you I like the most is inside."
Of course, it's sweet. This can easily be the sweetest thing someone can ever say to someone else. But do you buy it? I don't. I'm a non-believer when it comes to the idea of loving someone purely because of the heart/soul. Surely appearance must play a part, however little or big. This goes against my personal belief, so I had a hard time believing Charlie's love for Annie. Other than these dislikes, this book is made of fun!
Don't You Wish is a fun, thought-provoking story with a touch of science (and time travel!) that explores the idea of perfection. I really enjoyed reading this. This book comes out on July 10, 2012. (less)
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
Let's just start by saying that Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is one of the best YA Comtemporary that I have ever read. Although this story is dark and intense, it is engaging and it takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride: it makes you laugh, smile and cry. And here's a fact that might show you how much I really liked this book: I wasn't supposed to read this book right now, because midterm is approaching real fast, but I couldn't wait until after July. I couldn't possibly be studying, knowing that I still hadn't finished it! I decided to put my grades a little more at risk, and I was totally glad I did!
This is a story of two awesome characters. Echo Emerson, perfect girl gone freak, comes back to school only to find that things aren't the same. After that horrible night, Echo has kind of lost her mind and couldn't remember what happened to her. This haunts her and gives her nightmare. She has a bad scar on her arm, and she covers it with long-sleeved shirts every day. People don't care enough to ask; they're happy with believing their own assumptions that she's cut herself. Her father has remarried and she isn't allowed to contact her mother in any way at all. What's more, she has to do therapy sessions with Mrs Collins, and so does Noah. And this is where the romance begins. Noah is a great guy, totally undeserving of all the bad things that have happened to him. His family is shattered after his parents died in a fire. His two little brothers are lucky enough to survive, but Noah has never been able to erase the guilt from his mind. Jacob and Tyler , his two brothers, are then adopted, and visitations is the best Noah can do before he files for custody. With determination to bring his family back together, Noah will just about do anything he has to do, and that includes, much to his dismay, tutoring sessions with Echo Emerson.
I must admit that I wasn't sure about if I would end up liking this book at first. The first 30% something of the book couldn't manage to get me hooked. But then afterwards things start happening and it gets a whole lot more exciting! This book is narrated by both Echo and Noah alternatively, which, in my opinion, works very well with. We get to know what each character is thinking and what they're feeling. I really enjoyed Noah's nasty thoughts, haha! The POV switching between chapters were not bumpy at all, but very smoothly done. It picks up where the previous chapter leaves off. But what irritated me is the fact that my copy doesn't tell me who is speaking at the moment. I would read a few sentences, unaware of the switch, and realize that it's the other person speaking, and had to reread the whole thing to make sense of what would come next. Normally this would be a very big problem which would affect my overall enjoyment of the book. Yes, it was a little tiring, but I decided that I liked Pushing the Limits so much that I didn't really care about this!
It's understandable why a lot of people love this book. Not only is it so real, but it also tore my heart apart. Big time. This isn't your typical teenage romance, it's so much more; it's about family and friendship and coming to terms with the past and horrible things that happens in your life. The part I adored most is when Noah decides to do what's best for his little brothers, despite its being what he's been going against, my heart broke to little pieces. This, I think, is love. You stop being selfish, you don't think as much of your happiness as someone else's. You love them enough to let them go, to let them have what's best for them, when if you're not a part of it. I love that family plays such a big role in this book. Friendship, too, is nicely touched upon. While Echo's friends ignore her publicly because she's been labeled as freak, Noah's friends stand beside him as family. This is a real situation and it's very well portrayed in this book. Sometimes people use friendship as a tool to achieve things, and when it's not useful anymore, what good is it to keep it? It's nice to know that in a world where friendship can be used as a means to some other end, there are friends like Noah's who have been through so much together and won't abandon each other. It's very touching. *adds tears here*
Apart from the story, I love the characters. Both Noah and Echo are great. Throughout the story, their developments are very evident. I love when there are character developments. Echo goes from a girl who hides away to a girl who has the courage to show her scars in the end; from a girl who blames everything on her father's new wife to a braver girl who accepts with tears that her mother isn't who she thought she was. I'm happy that Echo comes to terms with her past and heals her mental wounds to become herself again. Noah, a troubled boy whose only wish is to put his family back together, learns that sometimes "doing the right thing doesn't necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good." (Quoting Mrs Collins) These are all touching issues and I found myself so emotionally invested in both of these characters. I cried with them. I guess it's true that opposites attract, because they make a really great couple. It's not about going out and dating, it's about helping each other through tough times and being what the other person needs. Their romance is sweet and it made my stomach all fluttery. I love it. Other characters in this book are great as well although they're not not likable all the time. There really is such a thing as a father who just doesn't know better; a stepmom who does all the wrong things and can never be good enough; and a mother who's selfish. I love that even these minor characters are three-dimensional. They're not all bad, but they're not all good either. Katie McGarry has done an awesome job creating her characters! I loved every bit of it!
All in all, Pushing the Limits is an awesome read. I'll never get over how this story is very well-written and how all these issues fit together perfectly. Most importantly, I'll never forget how this book made me cry like a baby. I recommend this to people who love to read YA Contemporary, 'cause this is definitely one of the best out there!
I received the digital version of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
All it takes is one moment for your entire world to turn upside down.
The very first moment I finished Kristina McBride's One Moment, I decided to hold off writing a review for a while. It was overwhelming and it definitely was too much for me to handle. I didn't intend to wait this long, but due to the circumstances, I have to post less regularly. But every day that I waited to write this review, this book has crossed my mind, screaming, "Review me already!" which doesn't happen often. Mostly if I hold off for this long, I'll just forget about it and move on. This book is kind of haunting in a way, but other than that, it's pretty amazing.
There are lots of things I really liked and loved about One Moment. For one thing, it's the idea that one moment can change everything. It's fascinating. For me, it's hard to recall which moment in my life that really made a difference. I have tried a lot of times before to think about it, because it's my obsession, but I can't recall the instant in which my life took a different turn. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. If I knew, then maybe I'd have regrets, so maybe it's better off this way. And when I saw what this book is about, I knew I had to read this. For Maggie, that moment is so easy to identify. Even if she can't remember anything as an aftershock, the moment is always on her mind, and when she does remember it, it devastates her.
There's no doubt at all that this book is very well written. This book has three of my favorite things that I love in book: death and heartbreak and emotional devastation. The story line is amazing and it flows smoothly. I think everything is done exactly the way it's supposed to be done. The opening scene wastes no time and jumps right into the plot. I love this. The mystery in this book really kept me on the edge of my seat! What happened? How? Why? It was almost too much to handle! The little bits of what happens on the cliff, the moment that changes everything, slowly come back to Maggie in fragments, then these fragments form together a whole memory. And then one memory leads to another and then she discovers an ugly truth that's been staring her in the face for so long but she hasn't thought much about. I can understand why she hasn't, and I didn't scream "Stupid!" at her like other heroines in the same truth-discovery situation. It's as real and believable as fiction can be. The mysteries and the surprises in this book are totally awesome, and the heartbreaking moments are just as precious.
I couldn't help but love the characters. They're all natural characters. The friendship in their circle of friends is so real, and I can imagine why it never crosses Maggie's mind that two of them will ever stab her in the back. Maggie is strong despite the grief she's feeling, the betrayal, and the heartbreak. I really loved her. I loved the way she copes with things: she learns to cope. It's not easy, but she can do it. She goes all the way to find out the whole truth, gets her heart broken and shattered badly, and she recovers. She lets go. She says goodbye. This is one of the most touching moments in the book. You have to learn to let go at some point. And Joey. Gosh, Joey. Who'd have thought? I can't say I didn't see it coming, because I did, but I didn't think it would go that far, that he's capable of that much evil. But the hint that he might be giving it all up, but dies before he can do so, was totally killing me. If Joey could go back in time and do it all over again, would he change anything? Does he ever regret it? Shannon, despite all the things she's done wrong, has her own reasons too. Can we really blame her? These questions and the fact that Joey isn't here to answer them killed me as painfully as they did Maggie. I loved Adam for being everything that Joey isn't, who loves his friends enough not to say anything, who stands on the sideline watching and helping whenever help is needed, for being so sweet. Not to mention he carries my most favorite male name of all time.
In the end, I can't recall what I didn't like about this book. I love, love, love it. I really enjoyed Kristina McBride's style of writing. This is the first book of hers I've ever read (and already a new favorite!), and I'm sure it won't be last. If you're looking for a combination of a good book, a good time and a good cry, know that this book is patiently waiting for you. (less)
I received the ARC of this book from NetGalley and Candlewick Press.
What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.
This book was a love at first sight as well as at first read for me, meaning it is as good as it looks! I was hooked from the very first page where Paige talks about last spring and the accident that changed everything in her life. It's told in such an honest clarity that I fell in love with the voice of Paige Sheridan aka Princess Paige or Perfect Paige.
After the accident, Paige is exiled to Paris. Her mother cleans up the mess that was the accident during her absence. When Paige comes back to Iowa, she expects to see her two best friends, Lacey and Nikki, and her boyfriend Jake, waiting to welcome her back at the airport, but they don't show up. She meets them all later at Jake's barbecue party (if I'm not mistaken), that's when she realizes things aren't exactly the way they were before. Lacey, now crippled from the accident last spring, is mean to her and avoids her. Nikki spends all her time trailing after Lacey and sucking up to her. And Jake doesn't even have time for Paige anymore, always saying something like Lacey's going through a tough time right now and he has to be there for her.
Apparently Paige and Lacey are having a fallout. You'd think that if Lacey's s having it so tough she'd turn to her best friend and tell her what was wrong. But no, that's not what she does. She, in fact, barely says a word to Paige at all since she got back, if not a sarcasm or something mean. That annoys Paige. And the fact that her other best friend and her boyfriend are practically taken away from her by Lacey also annoys her even more.
I totally felt for Paige. I hate people like Lacey. I hate it when best friends turn their backs on each other. I hated Lacey so much. I wanted to smack her head on a goddamn stone. I wanted tattoo "bitch" on her friggin forehead. I wanted to run a car over her. Using her own private misfortunes to manipulate people like that disgusted the hell out of me. It was also no excuse to be a bitch. You know the feeling when you hate someone so much you want to scream and break things? Yep. My hatred for this character was so strong I thought my head was playing tricks on me, but then I realized it was the book. It could make you feel so much. Good job, Backes!
I think the greatest thing in The Princesses of Iowa is the Creative Writing class. I've never had a creative writing class before. High schools where I live don't have this class, which sucks, because it's the one I want to take most, rather than stupid math and frustrating Thai I could never ace. Anyway. Paige takes Creative Writing (which is an elective Jake was supposed to take with her but he changed to Film Appreciation or something because "Lacey needs a friend". Yeah right.). There is a new teacher, Mr. Tremont, who's totally gorgeous and also a great teacher. In this class, they interview a partner, do free writing starting with "I remember...", and do a workshop where the selected few write something for the whole class to analyze and criticize. This is so cool, guys. I never knew what a Creative Writing class is like, 'cause apparently I've never taken one, so it's nice to read about it. Mr. Tremont is awesome. Through this class, Paige slowly discovers things about herself and about other people. She realizes that she's happy when she's with Shanti and Ethan, two new friends she makes in the class, as well as feelings about certain things she never knew she feels that way about before until the free writing. It dawns on her that maybe Princess Paige isn't who she really is, but who she wanted to be, who everyone expects her to be. And maybe she doesn't want to be a princess anymore.
I love that The Princesses of Iowa starts out with the day the accident happened last spring which leaves some questions in our heads, like who was driving, and what happened exactly. I thought the author would leave it at that, and I was prepared to say that I didn't like it that way. But this book goes on to surprise me when near the end, things are finally revealed. Memories start coming back to Paige in vivid details. Love it!
Now, as I already mentioned my hatred for Lacey, let's talk about other characters. I really really do like Paige for her down-to-earth-ness and her honesty. She might seem kind of snobby at first, being the perfect girl everyone looks up to and all, but her character develops and she evolves to become a very likable character indeed. I also like Shanti and Ethan very much. Shanti is this opinionated person who isn't afraid to say just what she's thinking, no matter how unvarnished it is, and takes no crap from no one. Ethan is a funny and sweet guy. A total cutie! He likes to joke and every time he does, I felt myself falling a little bit more for him. At first, Paige is slightly held back with them, but then she relaxes and then she's happy when she's with them. Awww. They really have fun together.
Paige's family is a little bit weird. She rarely ever mentions her father who's actually there. I often found myself convinced that she has no dad or something. Her dad's really nice, from little information we have about him. However, Paige's mom is such a pain in the butt. I mean, what kind of mom insists that her daughter wears only a tiny dress and no sweater although the day is cold as hell, just because the sweater doesn't look good with the dress and that Paige has to make a good first impression because she only has that one chance? Please. She's trying too hard to keep Paige's image perfect that she doesn't really have time to care about the real Paige. I understand why Paige's little sister, Miranda aka Mirror, is so against her in the beginning of the story. Paige is her mom's favorite daughter, I guess, because she's pretty and has a shot at becoming Homecoming Queen. Mirror was practically a bitch to Paige, but then it changes when she sees that Paige has changed. The sisterly love is between them is cute.
Paige's boyfriend Jake and the other best friend Nikki are okay characters to me. Jake seems very endearing at first, but when the Lacey thing happens again and again, he started to bug me. However, he does some really sweet things for Paige, like writing her poems. That's extremely sweet, okay. Another part I like is when Jake accepts it when Paige says it's over, and graciously steps back. Although he's a bit of a jerk, you can't say he's that bad a boyfriend. Clean-cut ending, yay! Nikki similarly bugs me too. She's like a dog trailing after Lacey, always trying to please her. She's also kind of dumb. She hasn't been a great friend to Paige after her return to Iowa, so I can't really say I like Nikki much.
Mr. Tremont = fantastic. Enough said, really. I hope my to-be Creative Writing teacher will be like him.
I didn't have any problem with the length. I didn't think it's too long or much longer than it needs to be. The characters and the story both need time to develop. Honestly I think it's good the way it is, although it really is long. It's so fun to read and so addictive that time just flies by. I really did enjoy Backes' writing. There are some parts where she created fast-paced narrations using no full stops. She just let Paige talk. It's these parts that I really enjoyed reading, because it gave me such excitement and the feeling like I was on top of the roller-coaster going down as my eyes quickly followed the words. She did a great job with both the characters and the storytelling here. Fantastic.
The Princesses of Iowa deals with teen problems such as drinking and driving, friendship falling apart, and self-discovery. Told in a clear and honest voice, it's the kind of book you want to read again. At least for me. I'm definitely going to pick up a copy when it hits bookstores on May 8, 2012. (less)
Hannah Harrington did it again! I hereby worship her and declare my undying love for her, as she's now one of my favorite writers. Actually, she already became one when I read Saving June. I swear, whatever she writes, I'll read. I'm that loyal, and she's that good. And I'm sure her next works will still continue to blow my mind over and over and over and over again. I have no doubt about that at all.
I must admit that I was a little bit surprised to find that Speechless isn't what I thought it would be about. This is because I'd totally got the wrong idea by watching the book trailer released by Harlequin last month. I don't know if this is just me or the misunderstanding is universal (unlikely, though). From the video, I understood that Chelsea Knot (main character) walks in on Noah (whom I thought was her boyfriend) in bed with someone, and then she decides not to speak ever again. Well, that doesn't make much sense, does it? I mean, if that's what it is, then why wouldn't her saying sorry be enough? What does she have to apologize for anyway? She just catches them in bed! Hahaha. I was so clueless. And now, I'm so glad to find that the real story isn't like that!
So what is this book really about? Okay, first, meet Chelsea Knot. She's one of your typical popular girl sidekicks, equipped with sidekick attitude and personality and all. She's proud to be queen bee Kristen's best friend, and she has been for two years. Until one day she isn't anymore. That day at Kristen's party, she walks into a bedroom and finds Noah, one of her schoolmates, in bed with a guy. As a girl who can't keep a secret, she rushes downstairs and tell Kristen and her jock friends. Noah and his guy friend leave the party. It couldn't ended like that. But this is where things go wrong: her jock friends decide to chase after them to teach them a lesson, which is jock language for beating the shit out of them. And duh, that's what happens. They beat him up so terribly that he lies in coma in the hospital bed. Chelsea knows this too, and so she calls the cops, who later put her jock friends in jail. And then Chelsea is hated by everyone including her "friends."
She's called a lot of names such as "rat," "stupid whore," and "bitch," to which she replies "Bitch? Really? Whoever is behind this is in dire need of a thesaurus. The level of creativity is tragic more than anything." You gotta love her. But that's beside the point. The point is her so-called friends turn their backs on her, and this put her on the receiving end of all the things she's done while being Kristen's sidekick. It's terrible and ridiculous, now she realizes that. And she's sorry. Not for the social status it costs her, but for what she's done to land people in coma and in jail. Realizing running her mouth does more harm than good, she decides to "do the world a favor" by taking a vow of silence.
Speechless totally blew me away. It tackles tough issues like bullying and LGBT rights and still can manage to be funny and very entertaining without being too heavy. I love how Chelsea, determined to be silent, makes an evident progress in sympathizing with other people and listening to them, which I don't think she would've learned, had none of this happened to her. It's like she opens up her mind more and becomes a better person. Her character development is impressive. Chelsea goes from the girl who follows Kristen around, not really having an opinion of her own, who lives to gossip, to a selfless version of herself who cares about others and stands firmly for something she believes in. Although many reviewers say that they find Chelsea difficult to like at first, it was the opposite with me. I liked her from the beginning, but not because I liked what she was doing. I liked her voice as it resonated in my head, giving me things to think. I liked how her character is very well portrayed and well-developed that it's hard not to think she's real and to feel like you already know her.
Other characters are great as well. I think this is one of the many outstanding talents of Hannah Harrington. She can create well-crafted characters that feel so real and so alive and so wonderful. I love Chelsea's two new awesome friends, Sam and Asha. They come into her life and make it all better. Asha is bubbly and sounds like a fun person to be around. And Sam, oh-my-god Sam, is so cute! I'm not even going to gush about him, because it would be really over-the-top. Noah and Andy, they're lovely. I love Noah for this:
"Hate is...it's too easy," he says. His face is calm, calmer than it has any right to be, his eyes not wavering from mine, like he's so completely sure of what he's saying. "Love. Love takes courage."
I'm sure this must've put tears in my eyes, even though I don't remember it. It's like, wow. Forgiveness. It's awesome. It's totally worth having your eyes brimmed with tears. As I earlier stated, Chelsea's voice totally impresses me. No, actually, Hannah Harrington's writing renders me speechless. (Haha!) This is one of the things I love Hannah Harrington for. Whenever her characters talk to us, I know it's my cue to grab my highlighters. Gosh, I can't begin to explain this. I'm a big fan of words and when words line up as beautifully as Hannah Harrington's do, I'm hypnotized. I'm seriously lost and I drown in them. It's her thing, I supposed. Whenever her characters tell us what they're thinking or how they're feeling, it's almost always something memorable that never fails to strike a chord with me. This also happened a lot of times with Saving June, her debut novel.
If I were to compare Saving June with Speechless, I'd say I loved Saving June more. Because it's true. I'd also say they are quite different from each other. In my opinion, Saving June is tinted with teenage angst and sadness of someone who's lost a loved one, which hits very close to home for me and therefore scores more points. While Speechless doesn't have that kind of sad vibe I love so much, it's still a great journey of a girl trying to find her own voice, a story about mistakes, forgiveness, bullying, and the right to love. I can't say which one is better but I can assure you that both books are brilliant.
With beautiful prose (as always), wonderful characters, cute romance and just enough humor, Speechless is guaranteed to take you on an awesome journey that will leave you... well, speechless! (Ha!)
I received the digital version of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review. --------
Words of wisdom from Hannah Harrington in the Q&A section: "Words matter--how we use them and how we don't. Sometimes it is really difficult and even scary to speak up for what you believe is right, but it is important to do. At the end of the day you answer to yourself, no one else, so you'll be happy that you did."
I received the ARC version of this book from NetGalley and Random House to read for review.
Well, I'm a sucker for sad stories. This one is it. This book made me cry big time.
Someone Else's Life is sad, dramatic, and tense. Heavy stuff, you might say. I enjoyed it very much, although it's kind of too long for my taste. The writing is enjoyable, the story rich and powerful.
Rosie Kenning, 17, decides to have her DNA tested to see whether she's inherited Huntington's Disease that took her mother Trudie away from her. This disease is hereditary and the offspring has 50 percent chance of inheriting it. Sarah, Trudie's best friend and midwife, tells Rosie that she doesn't need the test, because she definitely doesn't have the disease. The reason Sarah is so sure is that Sarah swapped Rosie with another baby. She meant well. That night, two mothers gave birth to two babies. One was Trudie, the other a 17-year-old girl who wanted to give her baby up for adoption. Trudie's husband was driving to the hospital to be with her but got into a car accident and was killed that very night. The baby Trudie desperately needed was extremely weak and it looked like it wouldn't survive. The other girl's baby who was named Holly Woods, on the other hand, was healthy, and in no way wanted by the mother. Sarah thought she wouldn't be able to stand watching Trudie suffer anymore that she already did, so she swapped these two babies, believing it was the right thing to do, since Trudie's baby was going to die, and the other wasn't wanted. When Rosie hears this, she is devastated. Then everything begins to make sense -- the way Trudie's hair color was chestnut while hers is dark, etc. It's around then that Andy, Rosie's ex boyfriend, comes around again. Together they try to search for Rosie's biological mother, only to find out that she's working as an actress in America. When Andy says he's going traveling, Rosie sees it as a perfect opportunity to look for her, as America is the first destination. It starts out as a quest to only find her biological mother, but little does Rosie know how many lives she will be affecting, how much pain she'll be causing... It is much more than she bargains for.
Such a powerful story! WHOA WHOA WHOA! Seriously. I remember crying my eyes out for such a long, long time, and I wasn't even half way through yet. I have to admit I have never heard of Huntington's Disease before I read this book. It was heart-breaking to read how greatly and horribly a disease can affect you and the people around you. I personally find the story very rich and complex. Kind of complicated, too, but that's what makes the story so interesting. There's always something that keeps you from putting the book down. Always some sub-plots and twists and turns that are constantly thrown into the story.
If you plan to read this book, know that you just sign up for an emotional roller coaster ride. A good one, too, I might add. There's sadness, confusion, anger, jealousy, guilt, shock, surprise as well as love and hatred. It was overwhelming for me in a good way. To feel all these emotions within an hour or something. I was feeling sad and sympathetic with Rosie for a moment, and then the perspective switched and I was extremely angry at Rosie, cursing her, hating on her. I was really into the story. It has a way to suck you right in.
I like how the characters are portrayed. But to talk about them here is like showing you spoilers, because there are many more characters involved in this than you might imagine. So, no, not gonna do that. I only have a few things to mention about the main characters that you already know about: Rosie and Andy.
Hmm... I don't think there's a gentler way to put this... but I kind of hate Rosie. I don't know... I guess some things are better left alone, especially when it's too late to change anything. But of course, she has to try to find her mother, and when she does, that should be the end of it, accept it and move on. Except that it isn't and she doesn't. She has to make her way into other lives and shatter them with all this I-have-to-tell-them thing. Really? I don't think so, Rosie. You think you're doing them a big favor by showing up and changing everything, but darling, I think they're better off before you came around. Sorry.
And Andy. Ugh, dear God. He annoys me. This guy keeps leaving her and keeps coming back. He keeps demanding the truth and promising to understand and can't take it and keeps getting mad. If it's just once or twice, it would be fine with me. But it was more than that. If I'm not mistaken, it's around 4 or 5 times. What an ass. If a guy kept leaving you and coming back and saying sorry, would you always forgive him and then everything would be okay like Rosie and Andy here? No for me! Make up your mind, Andy, it's either leave or stay! Ugh!
Anyway, enough with the rant. Those were the only problems I had with this book, along with the length, which in my opinion is much longer than it really needs to be. Other than these, this book is great. If you like sad and dramatic and heavy stories with powerful emotions, this book is definitely for you!
I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley and Candlewick Press for review.
You know, once in a while, there comes a book that tells the story of your life, or something that reminds you very much of it. Be it just a part of the whole thing, or everything that happens in the book has actually happened to you. When a book like this comes along, it's hard not to have a feeling of nostalgia as you read, or once you finish reading it. It might break your heart, make you cry, fill you with indescribable sadness, mixed with the joy of having it past you now. No more drowning in those tears he always successfully and easily summoned from you. GETTING OVER GARRETT DELANEY is a bittersweet reminiscence for that part of my life.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a sad book. If anything, it's a hilarious one with witty prose. I love the story, I love the character development, I love the writing, I love the ending. I love this book!
Two years ago, Sadie was in a local coffee shop reading Pablo Neruda's love poems when Garrett Delaney walked into her life. She immediately felt that he was everything she had been waiting for. Fifty percent prep, twenty percent punk, thirty percent old-school British indie rock, and one hundred percent gorgeous -- that's Garrett for you. Sadie fell madly in love with this new best friend of hers and let her life form its shape around him -- his shape. Having the hairstyle she knew he liked, wearing simple boring clothes so he wouldn't judge her, reading Russian literature and watching movies and listening to music that he loved so. She practically forgot who she'd actually been before he came around. She cherished their friendship, but always wished for something more, for that one day when he would finally fall in love with her.
Now those two years have passed, Sadie is comfortable with the life that she's built around Garrett. When he goes to a writing camp for six week, Sadie is left alone, separated from Garrett for the first time in two years, and has to find a job. One day while she's working in the coffee shop, Garrett calls and tells her he's in love with a girl in the camp, and asks her for advice. That's when Sadie realizes she has to start GETTING OVER GARRETT DELANEY for good. With on-and-off determination, 12-step plan from her mother's self-help book, and a lot of support from friends, Sadie sets off to figure out who she is without Garrett, discover her personal likes and dislikes without the influence of Garrett, and finally getting over this painful unrequited crush she has on her best friend.
This book makes me want to go curl up in bed and cry and cry and cry right now. It inevitably reminds me of those 6 years when the life of my younger and more stupid, love-blind self revolved around this jerk of a guy who enjoyed keeping me in misery so much that he refused to let the love I had for him die down even a little bit. This was just heart-wrenching for me to see Sadie go through almost everything that I myself have been put through. The unclear boundaries, the long phone calls that seemed to never end, the asking for advice about love and some other girls that wasn't me. The pain, the tears, the several attempts to get over him. The six years of my life I spent pining away, wishing he would finally see me. All to no avail.
I love Sadie. She's very relatable. I believe every girl has been in her position, being head over heels for their best friend. The descriptions of her emotions are so real, so touching. I could feel myself feeling the same things she's feeling. And sometimes just reading her feelings, all those things came rushing back to me. I think she represents us girls who have been there. I love how her character develops and how she slowly tries new things and starts feeling comfortable with her life without Garrett.
Abby McDonald's writing in this book is incredibly enjoyable. I love the way the 12 steps are inserted right between chapters. That makes it easier for me to keep up with Sadie's progress and what she's going to do. This book is also very cleverly written and well-plotted. There are many beautiful sentences that had me gaping at, and those that made me laugh and smile. I couldn't put this book down. It's very addictive and fun to read!
In addtion, I'm glad the book ends the way it does. I loved the ending. So powerful and symbolic.
Recommended! GETTING OVER GARRETT DELANEY is a wonderful read! (less)
Thanks to Netgalley and Lerner Publications for sending me this book to review!
I have never seen a film with Jennifer Lawrence as the main character before. In fact, I had heard of her only a few times until the casts of the Hunger Games were revealed. Initially I didn't believe she would be a great Katniss Everdeen, but after seeing some trailers of the film, I was completely convinced. She has that subtlety and sadness in her while playing Katniss, and also shows strength and determination. Now I'm looking forward to seeing her play this role on screen. I'm expecting great things from her!
This book talks about Jennifer Lawrence's life in a nice chronological order, allowing readers to go along as years went by. Since her childhood, Jennifer Lawrence knew she wanted to be an actress, and she was determined to be a successful one. It mainly focuses on how she pursued her acting career, the roles she's played, the films she has starred in (ex. Winter's Bone, X-Men: First Class, etc.), all building up to the point where she landed the role -- the biggest and most challenging one ever in her career -- of Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games trilogy originally written by Suzanne Collins.
Readers will find this book easy to read and go along with. There are pictures supporting the content of the book such as pictures of Jennifer Lawrence in various awards celebrations, stills of her in her previous films, etc. This biography is brief, not too detailed, with pictures every few pages, and a list of important dates for her at the end.
Jennifer Lawrence is really an inspiration. She's determined, and when she sets her mind on something, she'll work hard, and she'll get it, as told in this little biography. Now we can sit back and wait until The Hunger Games film hits cinemas in this upcoming March 23, 2012, and see for ourselves Jennifer Lawrence's role of Katniss Everdeen.
Thanks to Netgalley and Candlewick Press for sending me this ebook to review!
The Crazy Things Girls Do For Love by Dyan Sheldon is a light, easy read, which is also sharp, funny, and witty! It shouldn't take you more than two days to finish it, because as I said, it is very light. (But unfortunately I've been so overwhelmed by uni work, so it took me 6 days.) If you're looking for something hilarious and enjoyable and easy to read, this book is for you!
The story starts as Cody Lightfoot, a drop-dead gorgeous, super good-looking guy sets his foot on Clifton Springs high school, making probably all the female heads turn. Cody then joins the Environmental Club, which was previously viewed as a loser club, and rescues it from being shut down by the school, by effortlessly recruiting many members, most of them, if not all, are girls captivated by his charms. Sicilee Kewe, the most popular girl in the most popular clique in the school, wants to win Cody's heart. And so do the arty Maya and the loner Waneeda. These girls are willing to go to great lengths, not to mention crazy, in order to do so.
I like the plot that trying to impress a crush ends up in something far greater than they expect. They finally learn to really care about the environment, and not just pretending to like they did in the earlier parts of the story. I especially enjoy their snide remarks aimed at each other. Really humorous and witty. Although these girls annoy me sometimes, I understand that the book is being realistic, as I used to be young and crazy and annoying like that too.
If there's anything I don't like, it is this: I feel like Cody's character is a little bit forced. At first he seems like a nice guy who really cares about the world and everything, going around convincing superior people that environment really matters. But then suddenly it turns out he isn't actually what he seems to be. I feel like this part is forced. Like the author wanted to make Cody bad because then she could add some depth to the story, so Cody wouldn't be perfect, so Cody wouldn't have to choose which girl to be with, because they would already see the real him and feel disappointed and realize he wasn't worth it.
What is outstanding about this book is the fact that it is a fiction concerning environmental issues. Most of the time, a lot of people find it boring to talk about the environment and what we're doing to destroy it. However, this book was so cleverly written that these stuff don't feel too much and boring at all. It's nice to have books out there that raise awareness for young readers!
Also, this fun, easy read a happy ending! That makes me happy!
One word: wow. This book is beyond amazing. It's one of those books that leave you speechless right after finishing, and will continue to stay with yo...moreOne word: wow. This book is beyond amazing. It's one of those books that leave you speechless right after finishing, and will continue to stay with you even as time flies by. All I could say at that moment was I'm finished. Wow. *wipes tears* Wow. Just wow. *blows nose* For real. It touched my heart and left an imprint on my soul. A new favorite for me.
I was reading this book two weeks before my midterm exams. So after two days of reading it, I had to put it on hold to study. I was able to continue reading after the exams were over. So you could say that I'd been reading this book for 6 days, not 17.
I've known The Book Thief since its publication in 2006. I feel stupid for not having been able read it sooner. I remember when I visited the national book fair 6 years ago, The Book Thief had just been published and was later translated into Thai and on sale for the first time there. I bought a copy. It came with its own nice paper bag that looked just like the cover, with gold print and all. I read the first chapter and then that was it. I wasn't much of a reader back then, nor was I any good at English. I'd promised myself that one day I would read the English original and understand it, and that happened just now, six years after the promise. I'm so glad I got to finish it and appreciate its beauty in its original text. I'm going to pick up the Thai translation one day and read to see if the translation lives up to the original at all.
“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.” The Book Thief tells a very complicated yet simple story. I don't quite know how to tell you this. This amazingly well-written book is narrated by Death himself during the World War II. And a beautiful narration it is, too. The book revolves around a young German girl named Liesel Meminger, whom Death calls The Book Thief. Liesel stole her first book, The Grave Digger's Handbook, when her brother was being buried in the snow, while they were traveling to Munich to live with their foster parents. She couldn't even read back then, but she stole it because she knew it would remind her of her brother and the train ride with their mother. Her foster parents are Hans and Rosa Huberman. Hans is a very fatherly person. He loves Liesel. He teaches her to read, plays her the accordion, and reads with her when she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, after dreaming of the train and her brother again and again. Rosa, on the other hand, is a rude woman. She swears all the time. She also loves Liesel, but she doesn't show it. Liesel is getting used to the life on Himmel Street, and she makes some friends. Her best friend is Rudy Steiner, the boy next door, whose favorite thing to say to her is, "How about a kiss, Saumensch?", which gets rejected every time. Liesel is getting used to the life on Himmel Street until one day a Jew shows up before their house. Max Vandenburg, son of a friend of Hans' who once saved his life in the war, is kept hidden by the Hubermans in their basement. The Hubermans love him and care for him, still they can't shake the fear that the Nazi might find out there's a Jew in their basement.
There's not a thing I don't like about the story, but right now let's talk about the narration. It's very unique and interesting (at least to me), because I have never read a book entirely narrated by intangibles before (Just in Case by Meg Rosoff is narrated partly by Fate and partly by third person point of view). Moreover, Death in this story isn't just death. Death has a cynical personality, and is haunted by humans. He's weary of his work, and he tries to understand humans. I've never looked at death that way before, but more like something sinister that loves taking away someone we love, so this really opened up my eyes. As someone who dreads and hates death, I think it's nice to see things through Death's eyes. It kind of made me think that maybe Death doesn't want to take anything away from us, but he has to. Just like the sun can't help but rise and shine every day. However, I might add that it didn't exactly make me feel any less negatively about death. It's just very interesting. So very interesting. I also loved that Death is impatient. He doesn't like mysteries: he will tell you the ending before you get there. The interesting thing is that it doesn't spoil the story at all. If anything, it enriches it, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. You know what, but not how, and you're dying to know the how. I guess it's not about the destination, it's all about the ride.
One of the rare things happened to me with The Book Thief: I loved the characters. Why is this a big deal? It is a big deal because I don't tend to have a lasting strong feeling about characters in standalone books (the only exception being Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), and they don't stay with me. But not with this book. I loved the book lust in Liesel Meminger, just as much as I loved how she struggled to get over the death of her brother. I loved Rudy Steiner's ever-present starvation, his how-about-a-kiss-saumensch, his Jesse Owens event, his blond hair, his dusty bomb-hit lips. The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you. Just thinking about him makes my eyes water. That boy is so wonderful. I also loved Hans Huberman, his accordion, his teaching Liesel to read, his staying up with her to get her through the night. He's a heavenly person. His calmness, kindness, his love. Rosa Huberman, however rude and tactless and wardrobe-like looking, is also lovable. She takes a Jew into her house without asking a single question or a having a single doubt. She reminds me of my mother, who doesn't talk very nicely, but whose love can be so great it can probably move a mountain. I loved the Jewish fist-fighter Max Vandenburg who always feels guilty about "having to put you all through this." I loved this guy because he dreams of fighting with Hitler, because he has written two books for Liesel, because he never asks for anything, because he makes me cry the most, because he is taken away, because he comes back, because.. because... just because.
You know, when you love a book this much, it's hard to find anything to say at all. You know what you say is not going to do the book justice.
These characters, these people, this story. They'll stay in my heart for a long, long time.
I don't know how he did it. Markus Zusak, I mean.
Speaking of whom. His writing is extraodinary. Delightful. Magical. Reading his beautifully-strung-together words is pure joy. The words blew me away. I don't know how to explain it. They made me laugh, and they also moved me to tears. Heart-wrenching stuff. The power of words, indeed. Amazing what it can do to you, don't you think?
I have a little advice for those of you reading this review who hasn't yet read this masterpiece of a book: DROP EVERYTHING NOW. READ THIS BOOK.
this is a very rare incident. i actually enjoyed it the second time around. and i noticed that the writing is exceptionally beautif...morere-read for midterm
this is a very rare incident. i actually enjoyed it the second time around. and i noticed that the writing is exceptionally beautiful which is something i had failed to see the first time. of course i still didnt like justin or any of the characters. kudos to the writing alone. i enjoyed it more than i had expected to.(less)
This is a really cute story about a boy who loves a star. He wishes to catch that star and befriends it. He tries what he can to reach it. And then he...moreThis is a really cute story about a boy who loves a star. He wishes to catch that star and befriends it. He tries what he can to reach it. And then he finds the star somewhere else, and not in the sky.
The ending is totally unexpected for me. Lovely story. Amazing illustrations. (less)
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for giving me this ARC to review.
First of all, GORGEOUS cover! If you swoon over pretty book covers like me, this one is a must-have. :D And also the title! I love the title for some reasons. It sounds kinda poetic and deep and all that to me. Me likey!
I didn't know what to expect before reading UNDER THE NEVER SKY. I've read some reviews and seen that it's a dystopian book -- something that is very popular at the moment which I have very little to no experience with. Needless to say, the first chapter was totally confusing for me. All those weird names like Ag6 and Pod and Dweller and Savage and Outsider and Smarteye. At that time I was pretty sure I could never understand the world building. But surprisingly, I did understand it! I guess I'm somewhat heavy-headed so it had to take some time for all the details to gather inside my head and sink in and make sense. Once the world building became clear to me, I could see that it was AWESOME. Like, WHOA, AWESOME. And unique. I can't explain it. It's way too complicated for me to break it down. If you want to know how awesome it is, you have to read it!
For another thing, I loved the romance between Aria and Perry, alright. I'm a sucker for cute romance. SQUEE! Although this one isn't cute from start to finish, it seems very real and believable to me. At first Aria is scared of Perry and thinks he's disgusting because he's an Outsider, a Savage. Perry thinks Aria is a weak, fragile, snobby Dweller who doesn't know how to survive out in the real world. Obviously, this isn't an instant crush. I loved how they slowly fall in love with each other because they need each other's help and all the things they've been through together make them closer.
I also love the sub-plots. They're quite mind-blowing. Things that never crossed my mind happen and I was always stunned, like WOW stunned. Lots of surprises! The story is written in the third person point of view with shifted perspective on both Aria and Perry. And the ending kills me. Seriously, it's a very impressive ending. I don't know. I really love how it's written. Got me squeeing big time!
I think this book is very well crafted and written, indeed! Fantastic read! I can't wait for book two!
Actually I don't really want to review this, but since I haven't reviewed anything in a while because I just don't feel like it anymore, I think it's time I should do something about this laziness.
My brief summary of The Brief History of the Dead, which is a contemporary novel that tells a story of two worlds: the world of the living, and the word of the dead, aka "The City", goes like this: ............................................................................................
I'm not joking. I really cannot summarize it. There's pretty much nothing in the story. It's just pages and pages of "nothing" story. It goes nowhere. My feeling about the story in three words: W T F.
To make matters worse, the narrative in the book bored the hell out of me. It's not engaging. The narrative is always switching between the life stories of the dead in The City, the happenings in The City, and the journey of Laura, who is the only person left in the world after the pandemic kills everyone. At first I thought the book was only going to tell me about each and everyone of the people in The City, because for quite some time, that's all it talks about! It goes on and on about how they die, or their memories of the world of the living, and the thumping sound that they hear after they die, and whatnot. And then it says that the city is shrinking. The people in the city begin to disappear for no apparent reason, blah blah blah. And then we're introduced to Laura Byrd the survivor, who is sent by Coca-Cola, the company that she works for, to Antarctica to conduct some research, and therefore trapped in the research station there. She had two colleagues with her, Puckett and Joyce, who, after realizing that their supplies were running low and that they lost contact with the outside world, set out to try to contact Coca-Cola because they felt like they were neglected by the company. Laura waits, but they never return. And then she decides that she has to find them and contact the company.
Her journey in Antarctica is long, I'm sure, but really, does the narrative have to tell us about her every footstep? All I've ever known about her journey is that she's always thinking about someone (it's trying to say that ALL the people who remain in the city are there because they are remembered by Laura, therefore they're not gone), and that she feels cold, and that she sets up her tent to sleep in it but can't sleep because she's too tired, and that she can feel her sweat freeze on her skin, blah blah boring blah. These things recur all the time. Honestly, I don't really want to know, thank you very much.
Now, let's move on to a more interesting topic: the world-building. When I first read the back cover of this book, I was very interested indeed. "Imagine a place between heaven and earth. A city where everyone ends up after they die. This city looks like any other, with trees and houses and newspapers, where people work, drink coffee and fall in love. And here they remain, kept alive by the memories of those left behind on earth." I've always been interested in theories of afterlife, and this book promises one. The Brief History of the Dead has a really unique way of looking at it (or at least for me, as I have never come across anything like this before). In the book, when people die, they go to "the city". The City is neither heaven nor hell, it's just a place for those who are dead but are still remembered by the living. Basically, they will remain there until they are completely forgotten, or in other words, until all the people who know or remember them are dead. Some Christians who are there start losing their faith, when they don't get the heaven that their religion promises. Some keep holding on to it, for they don't know what might happen, where they might go next. Nobody knows since when The City has existed. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
But I'm not impressed. This world is very sloppily built. In the book, the people in The City do things that they shouldn't have to do, since, you know, they're dead. Some have to go to work, while others have to beg for money on the streets. They are hungry, and they need sleep. They are in relationships with new people they meet there, and they build families consisting of people who are not blood-related. All this doesn't make one bit of sense to me. There are refrigerators and sofas and books and stuff that the living world has, but where do all those stuff come from? Who created them? It just sounds ridiculous and out of nowhere. The world-building isn't believable at all. And since it's a city, and it's also HUGE, since no one has ever been to the end of the road whatsoever, shouldn't there be a government or something? Since people in this afterlife have jobs, having a ruling government sounds reasonable, don't you think? How do all these people manage to live together without some sort of authorities? Doesn't make sense to me.
And the characters? I don't care about any of them. I think it's all this switching scenes that makes it hard to really feel connected to anyone in particular. Personally I find the characters quite flat. We don't know anything much about them. And there are just too many characters that it's hard to keep track of who's who.
I could have hated this book. So many things I don't like about it, you see. But if there's anything I like at all, it's the writing. I don't know how to explain it exactly, all I can say is that I think it's quite beautiful. The words sound confident and enchanting, but sadly, the writing alone couldn't save the book when the story isn't well-developed enough.
Although previously infuriated by Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, I decided to give Coelho another chance. While it's right to say that I didn't hate this book as much, it didn't impress me either. It was just plain okay. And it bored me.
Veronika is a 24-year-old pretty girl. She decides to die because 1) she feels like life has nothing more to offer her. She's tired of the same things happening daily, doing the same things daily, with nothing new in her life, and 2) she realizes that one day she will be old and she doesn't want to be old. That day she overdoses on sleeping pills, expecting to die. Unfortunately, she is sent to Villete, an asylum, in time to be saved. Temporarily. The doctor, Dr Igor, tells her that she only has days to live because the pills somehow managed to damage her heart.
During her stay at Villete, she gets to know some people in there. She makes some friends and plays the piano and falls in love. Then the thought creeps in, from time to time, despite her trying to push it far away, whether she still wants to live, now that there are new things in her life and life doesn't seem so empty anymore.
In the first few chapters, Paulo Coelho wrote about himself as Dr Igor's daughter's friend. I'm not sure whether he implies or says it outright that he was also sent to a mental hospital because he wanted to be an artist (or writer I'm not sure) and therefore his parents thought he was mad. That's what I understood. So while this book is about the value of life in the face of imminent death, it also questions the way people judge 'madness'.
I really did want to like this but sadly Coelho failed me again. The translated text flows well enough, the story sounds promising. The main problem with this book for me is the way Coelho wrote it. I didn't like that he put himself in the story, because it didn't relate to anything in it. It just looks out of place and comes out of nowhere. I also didn't like it because the story was just so boring. I mean, it's nothingness. I didn't care about any of the characters. Veronika decides to die, well, that was interesting. But all that follows is all her interactions with people in Villete and stories of some patients' lives. It bored the hell out of me. And it didn't make me feel like life is so great, either.
And don't even get me started on THE ENDING. Oh dear Lord. It was terrible. (view spoiler)[In the end, it's revealed that Dr Igor lied to Veronika when he said she had only days to live. In fact, there was nothing wrong with her heart at all. She was perfectly fine and healthy. He only wanted to know whether life becomes more valuable knowing that death is imminent. It's like the author wanted to force a happy ending (she didn't have to die in 7 days) into a story that's built to end with what it promised: death. The idea that a doctor uses an innocent patient as a guinea pig for his personal experiment in hope to be famous for it one day is SICKENING. He didn't even tell her. She lived her life expecting death. It's just so wrong on so many levels. (hide spoiler)]This is one of the reasons why I didn't like this book.
All in all, disappointment. Nothingness in the form of 208 pages.
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