Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Princess Talia of Euphrasia was given many fairy gifts at birth including beauty, intelligence, and charm, but she was also given a curse. Before her sixteenth birthday she would prick herself on a spindle and fall asleep until her true love kissed her. Naturally her parents don’t want this to happen to their precious daughter and they annihilate all spindles from their tiny country. Alas though, regardless of their precautions Talia still manages to find a spindle on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and falls into a deep sleep.

Three hundred years later, Jack and his friend Travis are on a month long summer tour of Europe and are honestly sick and tired of visiting museum after museum. One morning they get up with the intention of finding a beach, but end up finding Euphrasia, frozen in time. While exploring Jack stumbles upon Talia, beautiful as ever and he can’t help but kiss her. And that’s the mistake he made.

Talia wakes up, as does the kingdom, believing that Jack is her true love, after all he did wake her, and having a hard time coming to terms that three hundred years have passed. Nonetheless she is eager to start her new life with Jack, even though he has no interest in marrying her, as he is still only seventeen. Wanting to explore the world Talia sneaks off with Jack and they return to Jack’s home in Miami, where Talia learns what it is like to be a “normal” teenager in the 21st century!

This book is too cute! While it is very fluffy, the story is heartwarming and fun, which makes the story very likeable. I loved how Alex Flinn took a normal fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, and transformed it into a modern day love story.

At the beginning the characters were quite underdeveloped and just seemed to be there with no personality and lacking direction. As the story progressed though they became much more real and the story became so much better. Jack had to deal with a lot especially his parents not believing and accepting him. They pushed him to do things just to pad his college application even though he hated doing them and nothing he wanted was good enough for his parents. This is definitely an issue that real teens face and I commend Alex Flinn for working that issue, and how sometimes teens misinterpret it, because it really shows that you really can do what you want to do. In Talia’s case she was very whiny at the beginning, but as she got to know Jack more she became more of a real character and much more appealing to the audience.

Overall this book is a light read that would satisfy a craving for a good fairy tale and of course a little romance. It was fun to see the author connect two different time periods and join two very different families together.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Anila’s Journey by Mary Finn

When Anila Tandy’s guardians, the Hickeys, decide to leave Calcutta they beg her to accompany them, but she stubbornly refuses to come so that just in case her long gone father returns as he promised many years ago she’ll be there. Miss Hickey then sets her up with everything she’ll need to survive by herself.  Most importantly Miss Hickey finds Anila a job as a bird painter on an expedition up the Ganges River. As the days go by and she discovers new birds, she also reflects on her past. How life was like when her mother was still alive and her father still around, or remembering the stories her mother used to tell. Along the journey Anila finds herself and grows up.

Anila’s Journey was a very well written historical fiction. The re-creation of historical India was fascinating and I enjoyed learning more about the older Indian culture. I thought that it was really interesting how Mary Finn alternated the chapters by telling what Anila was experiencing at the present and then stories about Anila’s past and then bringing them together in the end. Anila was an interesting character who really grew up through the story and became her true self. I loved all of the culture references and felt like I learned quite a bit. At times the book got dry and I found that it was hard to keep reading, but then it would get better over time. Overall I liked the book.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Band Geeked Out by Josie Bloss

Its trumpet goddess Ellie Snow’s senior year of high school and she’s facing the dreaded college decisions. She can’t seem to choose between her mom’s alma matter Worthington, an all-girls school out East with no marching band, or the local state school where her two best friends are going and who has one of the best marching band programs. Not only is marching band a huge considering factor, but also Ellie’s sweet and adorable sophomore boyfriend Connor, whom she really loves.
Ellie’s life is thrown out of sync though when she goes to visit the all-girls school where she is instantly drawn to her tour guide Alex. Her and Alex quickly develop a close friendship and now Ellie is strongly considering Worthington, even if that means changing all of her plans for the future. Her plans especially change when her and Alex’s relationship changes and Ellie starts to wonder if there is more to their friendship than meets the eye.
More confused than ever, Ellie must make the toughest decision of her life: to stay with what she knows or to go out on a limb and try something new. Regardless of her decision though Ellie’s life has changed forever whether she knows it or not and now she just has to learn how to live through it.
Well I can’t say that I was absolutely enamored by this book. I felt like the plot was a little weak and Ellie got a little weird, but there was still a really great cute factor to the book which reminded me a lot of BAND GEEK LOVE, but not as good.
As I mentioned before Ellie got really weird in the book. While I understand that she had to make a lot of hard decisions and was really confused, I really couldn’t connect with her and really disagreed with some of the decisions that she did make. Also her whole relationship status with Connor and Alex was a little off beat as well, which  for me was the major issue with the whole book.
As for the plot it was well constructed, but just not as interesting as BAND GEEK LOVE’s and I just couldn’t help comparing the two.  Josie Bloss did do an excellent job creating a real world dilemma and trying her best to solve it. While I was conflicted with some decisions that she made, Ellie was certainly smart in making her college decisions, which I think is a great thing to portray in a YA books as so many students find this process confusing. If they see how a literary figure handles the situation then they will hopefully be able to shed some light onto how they might be able to make the best decision for themselves.
Overall I was a bit disappointed, but still enjoyed the book. Josie Bloss is a new and fresh author who I expect will produce some great novels in the future. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (IV)

In My Mailbox was started by the wonderful Story Siren with inspiration from Alea!

So, this week I got one wonderful book from Steph Su...THANKS!!

Nina was beautiful, artistic, wild . . . and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, without any warning, Nina disappeared.

Two years later, Ellie can't stop thinking about her sister. Although everyone else has given up hope that Nina will return, Elile just knows her sister is out there, somewhere. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.

And then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing tucked into the pages of a book. Determined to find her sister, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy, cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance -- her hot, adventurous new crush.

Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Mysteries. Lies. And something far ore shocking -- the truth

Now you know what I got, so tell me what you got!

Also don't forget to enter my contests to win a prize pack of 5 YA books or a copy of Being Nikki and Airhead!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Anke lives everyday within an abusive home dealing with her father hurting everyone in her family but her. She feels worthless, like a piece of furniture, because she does not get a speck of attention from her father, even if it might be negative. Not being able to tell anyone she just floats on through life.

Then she makes the volleyball team, where you learn to speak up and call “MINE’ for a ball and really speak up for yourself. Her confidence quickly starts building on the court and she is making herself heard. She even starts to develop close relationships with others and even starts sparking the interest of boys.

Although she is becoming less invisible at school, she still continues to be like a dining room chair at home, invisible to the eye of anyone in her family. As the abusiveness gets worse a thought sparks in her brain that maybe if she just used her volleyball voice, she might be heard for once and hopefully put an end to this tragedy.

Over the course of her story, Anke not only grows taller and older, but wiser as well and truly becomes her own person, with a commanding voice.

This book is extremely interesting and very well written. It was written through poems and it caused the story to just float by. I was most impressed with the fact that Thalia Chaltas took a common theme in young adult literature and wrote about in a completely different perspective, the side of watching the abuse and in a way wanting it. The emotion that she was able to encompass through her lyrical prose was chilling and really made you think about both sides of the situation.

The characters in the book I felt were a little underdeveloped. While you really got to know Anke, it felt like she had no variance in her life as she talked about the same things over and over again. It made it a little dull and hard to actually imagine the story. Other then that though the book was well written and interesting.

Overall this was a great debut book that fans of Lisa Schroder’s novels will really enjoy. I look forward to reading future works of Ms. Chaltas’ as they are sure to be promising.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Airhead and Being Nikki Contest!!!!

As I am sure many of you are aware, the brilliant Meg Cabot started a new series last year about a girl named Emerson Watts. In a couple of weeks the second book, Being Nikki, will be out. I was lucky enough to somehow receive TWO copies, so that leaves one copy for all you blog readers to win!

If that isn't incentive enough, (and for all of you who have not had the pleasure of reading the first book in the series Airhead) I have THREE copies to give away.

So the prizes are as listed:

1st place: An ARC of BEING NIKKI and a final copy of AIRHEAD
2nd/3rd place: A copy of Airhead

All you have to do is leave a comment by May 5th at midnight to be entered. Entries are limited to U.S. residents only. Please include a way for me to contact you.

Also if you post about the contest on your blog, myspace, facebook, etc. let me know and I'll give you an additional 2 entries.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teen Inc. by Stefan Petrucha

 Jaiden Beale wishes he lived an ordinary life, but when you are the child of a corporation, yes as in a business, it’s a little hard. See when Jaiden was just a few weeks old his parents were killed in an explosion that was caused by a faulty valve made by NECorp, who is the same company that “adopts” him.
Now in middle school, Jaiden just wants to fit in, but that’s a little hard when you have a whole team of people trying to make decisions for you. When he finally finds the perfect girl to date (after many meetings where he gets shown a slideshow of possible girls that don’t appeal to him at all) his plans for a study date get immediately foiled. After enough persuasion though Jaiden is able to convince his guardians to let him use the company house and have the girl over. As soon as she steps in the house though, he wishes he had never pushed so hard. In short the date was a disaster and Jaiden is furious with the corporation.
Now he has to face how to grow up in a nonconventional environment and maybe, just maybe have somewhat of a normal teenage life. And maybe there is a chance for him to make up with the perfect girl and work things out.
Well the book started out really well and I was really excited about the concept, but by the end of the third chapter it started to go down hill. The plot didn’t really move much and the story became so predictable that I didn’t really want to continue.  I thought that Jaiden’s character became very whiny and unenjoyable, and he I felt like he kept talking abut the same thing over and over again. While I didn’t like the story, I thought that the author’s writing style was really good. He made the book feel real and provided enough detail to answer my questions, but not too much that it was a bore. Overall I was disappointed with the book, but think it may work out better for a younger audience. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (III)

This lovely meme was started by The Story Siren with inspiration from Alea!

So this week was a little slow, but still good!

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelley Martin 

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

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell (Thanks to Yan!)

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

How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson

To Carley Wells, words are the enemy: the countless SAT lists from her tutor, the “fifty-seven pounds overweight” assessment from her personal trainer, and most of all, the “confidential” Getting To Know You assignment from her insane English teacher (whose literary terminology lessons include “Backstory is Afterbirth” and “Setting is Nobody’s Slut”). When he tells her parents that she’s answered “What is your favorite book?” with “Never met one I liked,” they become determined to fix what he calls her “intellectual impoverishment.” They will commission a book to be written for Carley that she’ll have to love—one that will impress her teacher and the whole town of Fox Glen with their family’s devotion to the arts. They will be patrons—the Medicis of Long Island. They will buy their daughter The Love Of Reading. Impossible though it is for Carley to imagine ever loving words, she is in love with a young bibliophile who cares about them more than anything. Anything, that is, but a good bottle of scotch. Hunter Cay, Carley’s best friend and Fox Glen’s resident golden boy, is becoming a stranger to her as he drowns himself in F. Scott Fitzgerald, booze, and Vicodin. When the Wellses move writer Bree McEnroy—author of a failed meta-novel about Odysseus’s voyages through the Internet—into their mansion to write Carley’s book, Carley’s sole interest in the project is its potential to distract Hunter from drinking and give them something to share. Instead, as Hunter’s behavior becomes erratic and dangerous, she finds herself drawn into the fictional world Bree has created and begins to understand for the first time the power of stories—those we read, those we want to believe in, and most of all, those we tell ourselves about ourselves. Stories powerful enough to destroy a person. Or save her. 

That was my week, now I'm curious to see what you got!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Devil’s Breath by David Gilman

Max Gordon is on the run.

He was almost killed by an assassin, his dad has been kidnapped, and he only has one clue as to where he is. Still he is determined to find him no matter what kind of danger faces him. With the one clue he is given he figures out that his father is in the deserts of Namibia exploring a company that is about to hurt thousands of people. Those people know that Max’s dad has found evidence against them and thinks that Max has knowledge of this evidence as well. While he is on the mission to find his father, regardless of the evidence, the company is determined to kill Max.

With the help of !Koga, a local bushmen, who has a very keen sense of the wild, Kallie van Reenen, a local girl who has a great knowledge of planes and the sky, and his best mate back in England. All three of these people form Max’s support system as he embarks on the most grueling adventure imaginable, all in search of his father, of whom he knows nothing of his whereabouts. Will Max be able to beat the odds and survive or will his captors get the better of him?

This is an action packed book that any reader will find hard to put down. With every page turn you don’t know what’s coming next and you’re on the edge of your seat. Throughout the book you hear the story from different perspectives, whether it be the main story from Max, the antagonist’s point of view, and even sometimes the story is heard from Max’s two friends who are helping him with his search to find his father. I thought that the use of alternating perspectives was interesting, but at times it got confusing because some of the characters sounded the same.

While the author did a great job building up the book with lots of suspense and such I found parts of the book to be very predictable and not that interesting. Other parts of the book though definitely made up for this and I found myself intrigued.

At times the book got a bit violent, which I don’t think was necessary, but may have been appreciated more by the male readership. Despite this fact I think the book would be a good read for all teens and it was a good start to a potentially thrilling series.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Bianca knows that her second year at Evernight Academy will be much more difficult then her first, and that is saying something. Not only does she have to make it through the year without Lucas, her vampire-slaying boyfriend, but her inner vampire is starting to surface. She finds she is becoming stronger and craves blood more and more frequently and her parents say it is only a matter of time before she makes the full conversion, but Bianca’s not sure if that’s the life path she wants to take.

She does try and make the best out of being at Evernight by searching around for clues to why Mrs. Bethany, the headmaster, admits only certain humans into the school. This way she can give Lucas this information, in order that he can report it to his supervisor and be able to spend just a little bit more time with Bianca.

As the year goes on, Bianca’s life becomes even more complicated. Hordes of information is being kept from her at the same time that she is keeping just as many secrets from the rest of the world. One such secret is her continuing relationship with Lucas. The only way she can really get out into the outside world is if she pretends to be having a relationship with Balthazar, but she feels like this in a way is being disloyal to Lucas. With a major Black Cross mission underway and a mysterious wraith following Bianca, her year doesn’t get much better, but could it get any worse?

In general I find there is a rule that sequels are generally not better then their preceder, but then again there are always exceptions to that rule, especially in the case of Stargazer! While I loved Evernight, Stargazer proved to be an even more intriguing read and moved along at a much quicker pace, picking up right where it left off. With that said it is best if you have read Evernight so that you fully understand the context of the story.

Bianca’s character was definitely more developed in this book as she started to really question if she truly wanted to be a vampire or there was other possible options for her. This really allowed the reader to get to know her better and for her to become more real and three-dimensional. One thing I didn’t like so much though that she was the only character that was fully developed. To me the other characters didn’t have as much life to them and the reader could have gotten to know them better.

The plot was also much better in this book. It didn’t take anytime for me to become re-interested in Bianca’s story and I felt like I hadn’t missed out on anything. There was always so much going on that I was constantly on the edge of my seat eager to find out what was going to happen next and how each event fit into the plot puzzle! Some of the developments that occurred in the story were definitely jaw droppers and I was absolutely stunned, and I have to say I loved evey minute of it!

Claudia Gray really outdid herself with Stargazer. Her writing was fantastic and she created a novel full of daring, romantic, and shocking moments, all of which left the reader wanting more. She especially did a great job with the ending, even though it was a little odd, which left off with a major cliffhanger! I cannot wait for more books in the series and just future books from Ms. Gray in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Has Sprung Contest

I have a question for all of my blog readers: 
Do you enjoy.....?

a) Reading new books outside in the beautiful spring weather

            b) Entering contest...and hopefully winning them

                   c) All of the above
Well if you chose either a, b, or c, then I certainly have the contest for you! As a way to celebrate the arrival of spring (well at least the weather aspect of it!) I have a nice of pile books that have been released in 2009 to give away. 
Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal (ARC)
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry (ARC)
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Chasing Boys by Karen Tayleur
Need by Carrie Jones 
The contest is open for US and Canadian residents only. 
It ends on April 30, 2009 at midnight.
To enter just leave a comment with your favorite aspect of spring and a way for me to contact you.
Also if you blog/post on facebook, myspace, etc. about my contest just let me know (in a separate comment please) and I'll give you an additional two entries.
Finally if you are a follower or a subscriber (regardless of new or old) let me know (agian in a seperate comment) and you'll get another entry.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In My Mailbox (II)

Thanks to the wonderful Story Siren who created this fun meme with inspiration from Alea. All summaries are from Amazon.

I had an extremly exciting week and cannot wait to start the books that I got.

As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Thanks to Sharon for this one!

Ever since her mother passed away, Katie's been alone in her too-big house with her genius dad, who restores old paintings for a living. Katie takes a summer job at a garden estate where, with the help of two brothers and a glamorous librarian, she soon becomes embroiled in decoding a mystery. There are secrets and shadows at the heart of Nothing But Ghosts, symbols hidden in a time-darkened painting, and surprises behind a locked bedroom door. But most of all, this is a love story-- the story of a girl who learns about love while also learning to live with her own ghosts

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her—but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.

In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.

He smiles. "Hello."

It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes.

I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin.

Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more—something dangerous and exciting—something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who—and what—she really is.

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse. I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . . I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind. I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.
I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen. Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner! Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak! Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.
Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Now the only problem I have is deciding what to read next! Any suggestions?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Audrey, Wait! By Robin Benway

Audrey was just sick of the drama when she walked away from her boyfriend Evan and ended their relationship. She chose to ignore his mutter of “Audrey, wait” as she walked away. That was her first and biggest mistake.

Just hours after they broke up Evan and his band, the Do-Gooders, are performing their latest song…”Audrey,Wait!” and doesn’t it just turn out that it’s a fabulous song and there is a producer at the show. While everyone else obviously loves the song, Audrey hates it and just wants to crawl into a hole after hearing it. Little does she know that the song will quickly climb up the Billboard charts and send Audrey off into unwanted fame.

All Audrey wants to do is be normal again. She wants to be able to go to concerts and enjoy the music, hang out with her friends, and hopefully go on a date with her super cute co-worker James. But with the paparazzi hounding her day in and day out, she finds that she can’t do anything. Will Audrey’s life ever get back to normal or will she forever live in this life of unwanted fame?

Man was this book good! From the very first page I knew that this book was in its own special class, unlike any other book I’ve read in quite some time. The story is fun and original and the characters are masterfully created.

Throughout the entire story, Audrey’s voice was completely authentic and drew me into the story. The fact that she narrated the story in a teenage dialect was so much fun and really made the story come to life. She really had a sense of personality and you couldn’t help but laugh at all her crazy tactics to escape the public light and just get some alone time with James. Now some authors do really well developing the main character, but Robin Benway did a great job developing all her characters. They all had their own unique personalities and quirks and I came to love them all. Each and every character added to the story in a way that most characters do not, as they all stood off the pages in their own way in order to weave the story together.

The story itself was also very refreshing. The plot was original and didn’t find remnants of other stories mixed in with Audrey’s. As mentioned before the story really came alive and I felt like I was right there sitting in the office with Audrey or rocking out to the bands that she so often discusses. Many a time I found the story to fly by and keep me drawn in until the very end. Overall I was very impressed and absolutely cannot wait for more from Ms. Benway.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia is the odd one out in her family. Like Mia both of her parents are involved in the music world - the punk scene - while Mia finds her niche in the classical world. The first time she touched a cello in third grade music class she knew that she had found her passion. She quickly excelled and now, a senior in high school, has a specialized professor and surpasses most college students that she accompanies. She even hopes to go to Julliard in the fall, even if it means leaving her awesome boyfriend Adam behind.

Early on a February morning though life for Mia changes drastically. What was supposed to be snow day fun suddenly turned into the biggest nightmare that Mia has ever faced and it all happened in an instant. Now Mia has to make the biggest choice of her life, to hold on or let go.

I have to start off by saying; I’m going to try as hard as possible not to gush about this book, as it is truly great. I sat down and read it all at once, never taking my eyes off the page and just entranced by Mia’s story, not wanting it to end. After I was done, my jaw literally fell open in awe of the greatness!

Let me start with the writing style. Gayle Forman managed to create this lyrical tone in the book that made the story dance through the reader’s mind and implant itself in their heart. The words flowed off the page, just like they were notes coming off a cello. She created deep emotion in a short time and created a story that hits close to home, regardless of who you are or the experiences you have had.

The story itself was absolutely breathtaking. To have to go through what Mia does is heart wrenching. The decisions she has to make and the things she has to see are so vivid, that you feel like you are right there in her position. I also love how music, in all its shapes and forms, are an essential part of the book; it’s a great finishing touch to the book.

Now we come to the characters, my absolute favorite part! Mia herself was fascinating. She had so much to offer to the reader by sharing her story and she expressed her emotions freely. The words truly did come off the page in her voice and she became real. Not only was Mia great, but the supporting characters were fabulous as well. They were all so real and you could feel the love in their voices and the hurt that they felt. I especially loved the grandfather, who was quiet almost the whole time until one moment when he said one of the most memorable quotes in the entire story. For me this just added to the amazingness.

I am still in awe of this book and urge you all to run and grab a copy as soon as possible, so that you might experience the magic of this story for yourself. It is horribly real and extremely emotional, but it leaves you with so much. I absolutely cannot wait to read more of Gayle Forman’s future works, as she is truly a rising star.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ivy by Julie Hearn

Ivy’s life isn’t exactly picturesque. At a very young age she is orphaned and forced to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins who really can’t afford to support another child. Once old enough, she is sent to school, but doesn’t even last the whole day. When running from school her beautiful red hair makes Carroty Kate, a thief who literally steals the clothes off of people’s back, catch sight of her and snatch her up.

Forced into becoming a con artist, Ivy is brought into a clan of thieves where every night she is given laudanum in order to suppress the terrible nightmares she faces each night. Years later she escapes, fleeing back to her aunt and uncles house. Everyday she works in order to provide for her still struggling family, well also fighting her addiction to laudanum.
Then one day a young painter, who instantly decides that he must have her as a muse, glimpses her. Ivy and family reluctantly agree, as the money is good, and it could have it’s benefits. Ivy soon realizes though that modeling isn’t what she imagined as she deals with a jealous mother, a familiar band of thieves, a persistent addiction, and a way to controlling cousin.

This is a great historical novel. There is so much to learn from this brilliantly written story, that it was hard to see it end. Not only are there historical facts, but also some life lessons that still apply in modern times.

Ivy was by far one of the more interesting characters that I’ve ever read about. She has many quirks and led a terrible life. It was great to see a fully developed character whose personality, however weird it may be, shone throughout the story. I really liked how Ivy was so mature for most of the story, but still had a child like aspect to her when the reader found out how much of a passion she had for animals. She was so excited by the fact at getting to work with dogs at one point in the story that it almost seemed like she had transformed herself into a girl who hadn’t had any hardship.

I also really liked how Ivy learned that modeling really wasn’t the best thing. Even though the story is set in Victorian England, Ivy still faces the problem of dealing with jealousy and not being good enough, which is something I’m sure many people in this day and age can relate to as well. She also shows people how much trouble an addiction can cause, and also how hard it is to break it.

Overall Julie Hearn did a great job recreating a very real Victorian England. Fans of historical fiction will absolutely devour this book. I am very much looking forward to reading more of Julie Hearn’s and will definitely recommend this book to many.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In My Mailbox (I)

So I finally decided to join the bandwagon and participate in the fun meme that The Story Siren created with inspiration from Alea.

While my weeks aren't always filled with books I did get a few this week, all of which I am super excited about.

Things aren't pretty for Emerson Watts. Em was sure there couldn't be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel. But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who's gone mysteriously missing, a brother who's shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who's intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who's written a song about her that's topping the charts. How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. Johns - especially when she's got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side...Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren't really airheads after all...especially one model in particular. But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.

Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist -- after all, she's the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there really are no good men.It doesn't help that she's gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He's a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy...but he's her dad, and Quinn's just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he's treated the many women in his life, how he's stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the half sister she's never met and the little sister she'll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father's wrongs...and in doing so, begin to uncover what they're really looking for: the truth.

Tabitha and her four best friends all wear Purity Rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made as tweens. Now the girls are fifteen, and their rings have come to symbolize not only their purity, but also the friendships and identities they've built based on their shared faith. Simmering tensions rise to the surface and the group is split apart when one of Tab's friends admits that she and her long-term boyfriend have broken the pledge. In the midst of the confrontations, betrayals, confessions, and revenge that follow, each girl is forced to reexamine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure. 

All in all I had a good week and can't wait for next! Now I'm curious to know what did you get in your mailbox?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ruby thinks she’ll be fine when her mother walks out on her, especially since it’s only a few months until she turns 18 anyway. Her plans to fend for herself and live in the small yellow house are foiled though when the dryer breaks down and the landlord find a clothesline in the middle of the kitchen.
Life as she knew it changes that day, when it is decided that custody of Ruby goes to Cora, her sister who left Ruby and her mother when Ruby was eight. Not only is it a shock to see Cora, but to also have to move into Cora’s upper class lifestyle. Unlike the small yellow house that Ruby was living in, Cora and her husband Jamie live in a prestigious gated neighborhood and have a lifestyle that is completely foreign to everything Ruby knows.

Not really trusting this new life, Ruby plots an escape her first night at Cora and Jamie’s. Her plans are once again foiled when she tries to hop over the fence by the rambunctious barking of Roscoe, Jamie’s dog. The barking prompts not only Jamie to come and look over by the fence, but also a “Hello” from the other side of the fence. The voice belongs to Nate, a very cute guy who just happens to be Ruby’s age. Needless to say Ruby’s escape doesn’t happen and she is forced to continue life with Cora and Jamie.

Despite the new lifestyle, new school, and new problems, Ruby’s life starts to look up. With Nate’s infectious optimistic attitude and the truth about her and Cora’s relationship, Ruby starts to uncover the true person she is and the person she wants to be.

First of all I have to ask myself why I let this book sit on my shelf for so long! Sarah Dessen has truly done it again and created one heck of a book. I loved the whole premise of the book, where Ruby really had to discover her true self in an environment that was so foreign to her.
The character development was absolutely brilliant. I came to know Ruby better and better as each page turned, and by the end of the book I felt like she was a great friend of mine. Not only was Ruby fully developed, all the supporting characters were as well. Whether it was Nate, Cora, Jamie, or even Gervais, the annoying kid who was part of Ruby’s carpool, each character had a story that was shared. It was also really neat how elements and characters from other Dessen books popped up throughout the story!

Overall I completely loved this book and it has definitely become one of my favorite books. Ruby’s sarcastic attitude, the emotion built into the story, and just the effect the book had on the reader, makes this book easily one of the best I’ve read this year.


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