Monday, July 9, 2012

YA Review: Family

Family by Micol Ostow

Published: April 26th, 2011 by EgmontUSA
Genre: YA Fiction... in verse? I don't know how to categorize verse books and I'm also not sure if I want to call it historical or contemporary. It never said exactly when it was set but I assumed in the 70s at the latest, honestly. So... um... not sure on the exact genre.
Binding: ARC
Page count: 376 in my ARC
Part of a series? Nope, standalone.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.

Review: I'm going to be completely upfront and honest with you guys: I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. Honestly, I'm quite conflicted about my emotions. I'm not sure if it's me or the book... but I'm having a heck of a time summarizing my thoughts. Maybe I should just move on to breaking things down?

Plot: The book is loosely based on the Manson Family murders so if you're familiar with what happened, you'll actually recognize some of the elements in Family. (And if you're a bit hazy on the details, a quick Wikipedia read was fine for me and not even necessary. But it is interesting to see the parallels.)

Characters: To be fair, I haven't read a ton of books told in verse. It's an adjustment for me, for sure. But I had trouble connecting to Melinda. She was hard for me to understand at first and, honestly, I did not understand her thinking a lot of the time. That could very well be me and not the book and your mileage may vary but I can only say how I felt.

As for the other characters... okay, I sorta thought they were all bat guano insane. Henry was just... ugh. All of the whole "family" was sort of insane. But I guess that was sort of the point, huh? So it's not really a bad thing, just an observation.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: There are almost no capitals beside Henry's name and whenever Melinda mentions him, "Him" and "He" and "His" are always capitalized. It's a bit disconcerting at first, but you get mostly used to it.

But there were a couple pages where "I", which wasn't capitalized for most of the book, was capitalized. Mind you, that could have been a typo that was fixed in the final verson so I'm slapping a big ole "Here be an ARC" on this. But it was hard to tell within the context of the book for me.

PG-13 stuff: There's some language (oddly, not a ton), violence and, ah, a lot of drugs and sex. If that's not your thing, totally fair. Honestly, I wasn't really comfortable with a lot of it (and I like to think I'm pretty fair when it comes to this stuff) because... well, cult sex is creepy. When a character (slash person) is having sex with someone because someone else wants them to... it's creepy and I don't like that.

Cover comments: It's a striking cover. The faceless girl, the flowers, the blood splatters. It's like if you look quickly at it and you only see a girl and flowers, your brain could almost fool you into seeing a bright, happy cover - until you look close. I like it a lot.

Conclusion: I'm still conflicted. I'm glad I read it and I'm pretty sure I'd read it again. Maybe if I did, I'd be able to tell you better how I felt about it. It's an interesting book and worth reading. I think fans of Ellen Hopkins would be interested in this. And I think the writing was good.

But I'm still conflicted about how I feel. I recommend it, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the ending left me a bit unsatisfied, both of which are important things for me to enjoy a book. So because I honestly feel this way, I'm not going to rate this one. I feel it would be unfair to put a rating on it when I'm not sure how I feel.

Long story short - good book. Recommended. But I have many complicated feelings that are hard to describe.

So, have you read Family? Tell me what you thought in the comments.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (100) (!!)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

I've done two songs by this band already but I really, really like them. Also it's the hundredth Fun Friday post I've done!! Plus 80 and 90 were songs by them. That wasn't on purpose, but this could become a tradition!!

Anyways. *deep, calming breath* Here's another song by Safetysuit.


(Stay by Safetysuit.)

I just love this song so much. :)

What do you think? (I realize it seems like I'm setting you up here, but honest opinions are valued around here!!)

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (121)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Meant to Be by Lauren Morril - To be released November 13th, 2012

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Because it just sounds FUN. Also, London.

Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King - To be released October 23rd, 2012

Astrid Jones copes with her small town's gossip and narrow-mindedness by staring at the sky and imagining that she's sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying high over her backyard. Maybe they'll know what to do with it. Maybe it'll make them happy. Maybe they'll need it. Her mother doesn't want it, her father's always stoned, her perfect sister's too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to: another girl named Dee. There's no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she's trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love--and asking the right questions--will affect the passengers' lives, and her own, for the better.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Um, because it sounds freaking incredible? Also I'll probably cry but that's okay.

Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

(Also, what do you guys think of the new linking? Both Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links, just fyi, and the Indiebound one will be soon if I get into that. I write Waiting on Wednesday posts way into the future, though, and I know I'll be too lazy to go back and change them. Anyways, if affiliate links offend you... well, don't click them but trust me, I'm not exactly raking in the cash from them :P Tell me what you think in the comments.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Things I've Read Recently (4)

If you're new around these parts, Things I've Read Recently are basically mini-reviews. Sometimes it'll be because I didn't have that much to say about a book for whatever reason, or it isn't the main focus of this blog (like the romance novels I love) or that the books are overdue from the library and I desperately need to return.


Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

Published: January 2nd, 2007 by MTV Books
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 212
Part of a series? No, it's a standalone.
Amazon link. (It's 4.80 when I'm typing this. For the physical copy, not the kindle. That is a seriously awesome price.)

Summary (from goodreads): They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.

Thoughts: So many feelings. *sobbing* I just - her MOTHER I hated that woman so much. I wanted to light her on FREAKING FIRE. And then - zomg.

I'm sorry, I have no words and too many feelings to describe this book. I really really don't know what to say about this book. I don't want to say it was good because the subject matter of the book was so horrible, but the writing was amazing and... I honestly have no words. It was told in first person, present tense, and it this is an example of just how well that can be done. Recommended if you know you can handle this because it's... a hard book to read because of what it's about.

Oh, and can I just say how much I love this cover? I know the idea of it is a bit common now, but the flower being withered like that is just... I don't know. I just think it makes an impact.

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Published: December 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 214 in my copy
Part of a series: No, standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher's pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn't want to talk about it. She'd just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

Thoughts: It is a TERRIBLE idea to read this and Such a Pretty Girl on the same day. That was a really, really, really bad idea. But, ZOMG, such a good book. It was also told in first person present tense and Courtney Summers is amazing at it. Reading Cracked Up To Be has actually made me MORE interested to read This Is Not A Test because... well, this kind of writing plus zombies??? How could you go wrong? Parker was seriously messed up but she had such an awesome voice and... I just can't handle how awesome this book was. Seriously. So good. Highly recommended.


Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

Published: May 1st, 2009 by Little, Brown
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 297 in my hardcover copy
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores.

If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

Thoughts: Okay. Here's the thing. I've had this book since... I don't even remember. Thank goodness I have a blog, huh? Ah-hah. May 2009, I've had it from. So that's 3 years, pretty much since it came out. I haven't cracked it once in all that time. And honestly... it didn't overwhelm me.

It was predictable at times, the characters were a bit flat, the writing wasn't great, there were blatent mistakes (2 kids at the camp needed daily allergy shots - I asked online and googled and everything I found said kids who get allergy shots only get them once or twice a week decreasing over time, it has to be at a doctor's office, and one woman whose daughter got them told me they had to wait in the office for half an hour to watch for an allergic reaction to the shot; another girl in the book used an inhaler and it seemed like she was using it every five minutes and I don't you're SUPPOSED to do that - I mean, it's not breath spray) and, honestly, Samantha kind of annoyed me.

Okay, she kind of really annoyed me sometimes. She was SUCH a pushover, whiny, a craft snob, she didn't have a backbone to speak of, and she never seemed to actually spend time with the kids she was supposed to be practically responsible for.

Also there was this:
pg. 153
"Warning," Cole said ominously. "They're using glue today, and lots of it. Caleb dumped a bottle all over the floor."
"I don't know why they let them do projects with it at this age," I said. "Last week, Serena glued her hand to the table. I had to find nail polish remover to get her loose." Cole laughed.
Disregarding that I'm pretty sure the "Cole laughed," part breaks grammar rules, these are six to eight year old kids. I let three to five year olds - and once in a while a 2 year old - use glue at Storytime EVERY WEEK. Liquid glue. In a small container. With a paintbrush. Granted, we're not going to let them run away with it, but you know what? They can handle it. Six year olds are first graders, generally, and if not, then they are almost definitely done kindergarten. They can DEFINITELY use glue without getting into trouble.

Not to mention, I don't know what the heck kind of glue they're using that would both run out of the bottle fast enough to make a mess without somebody catching the kid and glue a kid's hand to a table. Whatever it is, I bet it's not non-toxic.

Anyways, done ranting now. To be fair, it was fun to read most of the time. It had its funny moments. It was very very sweet. It would probably be a good beach read because it's totally not deep at all. But it didn't do it for me. Personally, I give this one about two and a half roses, but if it's your kind of book, you might like it. Not really recommended unless you think you'll love it.

Well, that's everything!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (99)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

It's summer!! If I'm right when I'm typing this, I will have finished my last Storytime for the summer and I will be anxiously awaiting a really cool thing that I'm not going to mention for fear of jinxing. So how about something completely fun and bubblegum-y.



(Love You Like a Love Song by Selena Gomez and the Scene.)

Because you know you like this song at least a little ;) And if you don't, you have to admit the video is really cute. Aso it's really fun to sing. When no one's listening, if your singing abilities are like mine :P

So. Whatcha listening to?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (120)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler - To be released November 13th, 2012

Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because it sounds freaking awesome. Also I'm not sure if Wren is a girl or a guy and I find that intriguing. Plus, hecka gorgeous cover!


The Falconer by Elizabeth May - To be released in 2013

Humans will be the hunted. Love will be tested. Vengeance will be had.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

18-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron was destined to a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s society events — until a faery killed her mother.

Now, between the seeming endless parties and boring dances, Aileana has a new hobby: she secretly slaughters the fae who prey on humans in the city’s dark alleyways.

Determined to find the faery who murdered her mother, vengeance has become Aileana's life. . . so she never anticipated her growing attraction to the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Or that there was a world beyond hers, filled with secrets that affect her past and have the potential to destroy her present.

But when her own world is about revenge, and when she holds Kiaran’s fate in her hands, how far is Aileana prepared to go for retribution?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Edinburgh, fae and HOT sounding guy. What else more could a girl ask for?

This isn't the final cover but the final hasn't been announced yet so I figured this was better than nothing, right?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, June 25, 2012

YA Review: Human.4

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster

(Also called 0.4 in I think the UK, but the only Kindle Edition I can find is called that, too, and it's only 6 bucks so, hey, who cares about the difference, really?)

Published: March 8th, 2011 by EgmontUSA, and January 3rd, 2011 by Egmont UK. I think.
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Binding: ARC
Page Count: 232 in my ARC but it might vary in the finished copies.
Part of a series? YES. The sequel will be called 1.4 in the UK or The Future We Left Behind in the US and it was out in May in the UK and will be out November in the US.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

Review: This book freaked. Me. Out. I haven't been freaked out by a book like this in I don't know how long. It wasn't the something's-going-to-jump-out-at-you scary but a slow-building level of pure creepiness. It was weird and creepy and freaky and really, really good.

Plot: *points at summary* Spoilers, you know.

Characters: There were basically four main characters in Human.4. Two adults, and two teenagers, all four of whom were hypnotised. The book was narrated by Kyle who was pretty much just your average fifteen (and a half) year old boy. Granted, it was one that was having really weird things happening to him, but he was still pretty much a normal kid.

The other teenager, Lilly, who was hypnotized, I didn't think that I liked her at first. I thought she was a bit of a jerk, but that turned out to be how she dealt with the fear of the strange situation they woke up to. And then I felt kind of bad about judging her XD The funny thing, though, was that I did feel like maybe her character wasn't explored as much it could have been. It's kind of weird how the difference is between male-narrated YA books and female-narrated YA books about that, huh?

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: There wasn't really anything bad that I could point out.

PG-13 stuff: A bit of language, but not a ton. Like I said, though, creepy as heck.

Cover comments: Okay. Can we please talk about this cover for a minute? There are little tentacle thingies growing out of his HAND. That is fa-reaking disturbing.

And I love it. I think it fits the tone of the book perfectly, I love the colour tone of the whole cover, and I think it would be very friendly towards boys who are a bit shy towards the normal trend of YA book covers. Which sounds weird. But, basically, I read it today and bought a copy today for my 18 year old cousin for next Christmas because I think he'll like it and the cover won't embarass him. (Also there was a sweet deal for the paperback on Book Depository.)

Conclusion: Did I mention that this is told as though tapes were found in the future by the author and that there are little extras throughout the book, like definitions of things that they wouldn't know then? I think that's awesome and really fun, but also makes it just that little bit creepier. You know? I read Human.4 in just a few hours and I very much recommend this one. Can't wait for the sequel! Four out of five roses.


Sorry this is a bit short!!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (98)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

This week's song might be a bit different than the usual music around here, but run with it, okay?



(What A Good Boy by Barenaked Ladies.)

Oh, if you didn't know this, Barenaked Ladies sing the Big Bang Theory theme song.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (119)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Blind Spot by Laura Ellen - To be released October 23rd, 2012

There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.

Seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni’s body floated to the surface of Alaska’s Birch River six months after the night she disappeared. The night Roz Hart had a fight with her. The night Roz can’t remember. Roz, who struggles with macular degeneration, is used to assembling fragments to make sense of the world around her. But this time it’s her memory that needs piecing together—to clear her name . . . to find a murderer. This unflinchingly emotional novel is written in the powerful first-person voice of a legally blind teen who just wants to be like everyone else.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: First of all, Alaska. Books set in Alaska are just awesome. (Except for in winter when it's colder where I live than IN Alaska. Then that's just not fair.) Second, legally blind main character. You don't see that much as far as I know. (But see Charlie's Point of View because it's a really good book. Totally random but good.) Third, murder!! Murder is always fun... in books.


Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne - To be released December 4th, 2012

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. . .

You always want what you can’t have.

Megan never meant to hurt her best friend Anna. She made a mistake, and she’s spent all year trying to regain Anna’s trust. So when Anna invites her to spend the summer on her uncle’s farm, Megan is excited…and relieved. The past is finally behind them.

On the farm, Anna quickly falls for Jordan, a rugged summer-hand. Megan and Jordan have their own spark, but Megan’s betrayed Anna once before and she’s not about to do it again.

Still, the more time that Megan and Jordan spend together, the harder it is to deny their chemistry. But Anna doesn’t like to be ignored—and she doesn’t forgive and forget. What started out as the perfect summer is about to take a very dark turn….

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Farm! And also it sounds kind of creepy and I like creepy sometimes.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, June 18, 2012

YA Review: The False Princess

I have this thign I do where I'll put off reading a book and then feel guilty about putting it off so I'll put it off more and then I'll feel more guilty about it so - you get my point, right? It's not one of my best qualities and I really shouldn't do it.

But I did with this one. I stuck it next to my bed and didn't read it because there were so many books I had to read and ZOMG my to-read pile was going to kill me in my sleep aaaand... I get into these ruts sometimes. Honestly, the best way for me to get out of them is to read a bunch of books I don't *have* to read and relax.

This got really long but basically I'm trying to say that the length of time between me getting this book and reading it/writing the review are absolutely unrelated to its quality. Okay? Okay. Let's move on to the review now!

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neil

Published: January 25th, 2011 by EgmontUSA
Genre: YA Fiction
Binding: ARC (I really suck at this blogging thing...)
Page Count: 318 but I have an ARC and it could be slightly different in the finished copy
Part of a series? No, it's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

Review: I went into this one with slightly mixed feelings because of how long I put it off (see above ramblings) but by, like, the second page, I knew I was going to like it. The first chapter was really, really strong and I love that. It was the kind of first chapter  that makes you want to keep reading. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised how good this one was. It was one of the most fun books I've read in a while. Not that it was crazy lighted hearted (I actually had moments where I almost teared up but that might just have been me being weird), but the book had false princesses and magic and romance and it was just so good.

Plot: This would be spoiler-city if I said much more than what's in the summary so I'm going to skip it so I won't ruins thing for you guys.

Characters: Okay, for the sake of this review and my sanity, I'm going to call the MC of the book (the false princess herself) Sinda, since that's how she ends up identifying for most of the book besides the very beginning. Otherwise it'll end up REALLY confusing.

Sinda as a princess was kind of impressive. She says on the second page that she, "knew four modern languages well, bits and pieces of six others, and enough of five ancient tongues to at lease recognize them." Like I said, impressive. But then, when she found out who she really was, she became like a hundred times more interesting. She was prickly and stubborn sometimes which, you know, sometimes made want to smack her a bit but was interesting which is good! She also became strong and brave and independent and really awesome.

Her best friend, Kiernan, he was a hottie. What? He was and Sinda thought so too, so it's completely important that I mention it. He was also totally loyal to her which was awesome. But, also awesome, was that he wasn't doing the saving in the book. Sinda was not a damsel in distress needing to be rescued. Kiernan was her partner, her ally, and her friend, but not her knight in shining armor. And that was great.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc: The book didn't say at first when it was set, but there were a few things in the book that made me think it was set in or around the 1160s or 70s. I actually wish it had said when it was set specifically, but that might have changed in the final version.

With that time setting in mind, though... they didn't always seem to talk like they were in the twelfth century. I'm not some great historical fiction buff, but it threw me sometimes. It wasn't very often, though, just a few times in the book where something didn't feel right.

PG-13 stuff: Possibly some scary moments, but other than that, I didn't notice any language and the content seemed to me like it would probably be appropriate for younger kids reading up who aren't ready for "darker" stuff.

Cover comments: My ARC has a different cover. This post has a picture of the cover I have. I have to say, I think I like the final cover better. Because of the purple, but also I like that you could think of the cover as the idea is her past self is in the locket and her present self is still incomplete. Uh. But I'm possibly over-thinking this a bit.

Conclusion: Pleasantly surprised! The False Princess was a very enjoyable book with really good characters. And personally, I'm a bit of a sucker for a lost princess lot (ala Tangled or Sleeping Beauty). I definitely recommend it. Four out of five roses.


Other notes:

- The note is written with horrible grammar so I'm not going to copy it verbatim, but basically the gist was that I liked Sinda not being a princess better than when she was one and the magic was cool.

- The first two times Kiernan sees Sinda after she's been gone, he hugs her. There was a gap of time between the two times, but he hugs her both times. And the way he hugs her is just... kind of really awesome.

That's about it!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (97)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

I've done one post with a song from this band before but I figured it wouldn't hurt to do another. Some of you might be new or not paying attention, right? ;) Hmm, but which one?

Oh, I know!



(Closer by Anberlin.)

I like the energy of this song. Whatcha think, dear readers?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (118)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Dark Star by Bethany Frenette - To be released October 23rd, 2012

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because I read the blurb like five times and I still have very little idea what's going on, but I am INTRIGUED. And superhereos! You can't say you're not interested too.


Velveteen by Daniel Marks - To be released October 9th by Random House Children's Books

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: For one thing, she's named Velveteen and I want to know why. It's not exactly your average name. Also I have this thing for murdering people in my own books *cough* so... this is kind of exactly my thing ;)

So, dear readers, what are you waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, June 11, 2012

YA Review: Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

Published: December 28th, 2010 aka I suck as a reviewer
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction (more details about this in the review)
Binding: ARC
Page Count: 309 in my copy
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Frances has one job in life. To get into Berkeley and become a doctor so that her mother's ambitions for her will be realized. And Frances doesn't think there's anything wrong with that - until the day she accidentally steps into a speech class.


Frances turns out to be a natural at debate and public speaking. But to win in competition, Frances needs to say things she really believes - and to hide what she's doing from her mother. And once Frances steps out beyond her narrowly prescribed life, she begins to question many things about the way she is raised. Frances knows she must be obedient to her mother, who has sacrificed so much for her education. But how much is Frances living out the life her mother wants her to have, instead of the life that's right for Frances?

Review: I quite liked this one. Two quick things before I say more. First, I'm going to call this contemporary even though it was set in a year from August 1989 to August(ish) 1990 because that didn't seem like the main focus of the book. You pretty much could have changed that to 2009-2010 and very little would change besides maybe the one mention of a New Kids on the Block poster. (Although you never know.)

Second, I would like to put out there that I am hard to impress when it comes to contemporary fiction. I'm a hard sell on it. It's just a personal bias that I try not to let sway my reviews because it's... not exactly fair, is it? It's like me going on a cheese factory tour and complaining about all the cheese.

Bitter Melon didn't make me cry, it didn't rip out my emotions, stomp them in the dust and leave me sobbing in a corner - and that's okay. Frances' story was told effectively without that and honestly after the last book that actually made me sob and kinda broke me for a night, I needed something that didn't. But of course, your mileage may vary, and it's really not a bad thing. The writing was solid, it had a good plot, complex characters, and I read it in just a few hours ago.

Plot: *points* Go look up there at the summary and you'll be good. It wasn't a terribly complex plot. Not weak, but it was more of a character-driven book. (Insert obligatory statement about how character-driven books can be completely and utterly awesome and a non-complex plot doesn't equal a weak plot.)

Characters: Like I said, more of a character-driven plot. It was largely about Frances' relationship with her mother. There was a romance (and smoochin', which always makes me happy because I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to books) but it wasn't as big a part of the book as Frances and her mother.

Frances was interesting. I liked her and everything but I kinda... wanted to know more about her. A year passes in the book, though, and for some reason, I'm not a huge fan of that. I guess her voice was a bit removed. Which is odd considering the book was in first person present tense, but that's the best explanation I can come up with. Make sense?

As for her mother... the woman was insane. She was abusive and sabotaged Frances while at the same time expecting her to be perfect. Ugh. I did not like her at all.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Like I said, a bit removed in the voice. That's what I'm realizing now looking back at it and my notes and stuff. It's sometimes hard to connect with her and I like to connect with characters.

PG-13 stuff: Some language and like I said, her mother was abusive. There might be some eating disorder triggers so this might be one to avoid if that's something you don't like to read in your fiction.

Cover comments: I adore the cover. Totally gorgeous. There was another cover at one point that was a flower in a black background (you can see it in this post) but I like this one way better.

Conclusion: While it didn't knock me out of the water, Bitter Melon was a solid, enjoyable book that is well worth reading and that I enjoyed. Three and a half out of four roses and very much recommended.


Other notes:

I didn't take many but have you actually seen a bitter melon? It's a funky looking plant.

That's it!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (96)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

When I was looking for a song for this week's post, I swore up and down that I'd already posted about this one, but when I searched my blog posts, I didn't find anything. So apologies if I did, yay if I didn't.



(All I Ever Wanted by The Airborne Toxic Event.)

This is a book song for me, too, so. What do you guys think? What are you listening to this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (117)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth - To be released October 2nd, 2012

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day.

As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because we've acknowledged that I enjoy books that make me cry and I suspect this one will. Possibly quite a bit. Also, yay for male-narrated YA books!


Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini - To be released October 30th, 2012

Life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives…

When Elliot dies for the third time, she knows this is her last shot. There are no fourth-timers in this afterlife, so one more chance is all she has to get things right. But before she can move on to her next life, Elliot will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed… and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the mistakes of her past, Elliot must earn the forgiveness of her best friend and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: First of all, her name is cool. Second, I have this thing for reincarnation love stories. Just one of the facets of my personality. Like a diamond!

Um. Anyways. I love the sound of this one but is anyone else not in love with the cover? Or do I just have bird issues? (Could be that.)

What are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (95)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

This is a totally random song. Blame KT. But, honestly, it's totally fun.



(Make Me Wanna Die by The Pretty Reckless.)

What do you guys think?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (116)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox - To be released September 8th, 2012

When Charlotte comes to after being pushed onto the subway tracks, she is informed by a group of teenage girls that she is dead…they all are. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency. With the support of these dynamic girls—including fashionable Lorna, who can’t wait to find out if the devil actually wears Prada, and nerdy Nancy, who insists on staying in limbo to help out other girls—Charlotte follows leads and tracks down clues to solve her own murder. With plenty of juicy mysteries and some pretty cute guys, readers are sure to fall in love with this fun and suspenseful page-turner!

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Because I love the idea of a girl solving her own murder. Like that isn't epic. Also it amuses me that I heard about this one while I was reading a book called The Dead Kid Detective Agency.


Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan - To be released September 2012

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Because "Sorry-in-the-Vale." Everything else - cute boys, mysterious family, imaginary freaking friend, gorgeous cover, that's all icing. The cake is totally Sorry-in-the-Vale.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, May 28, 2012

YA Review: Across the Universe

Before I type this, I want to tell you all something about the review. I'm going to be using the back blurb because I like it better than goodreads. But it has more details and if you want to avoid them, I'll understand and you can skip that part. So, goodreads link here. There will be more details in the one below, but I'll put a bunch of space after it before I start the review part so you can scroll. Everyone good with that?

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Published: January 11th, 2011
Genre: YA Science Fiction. (Not dystopian, in my opinion.)
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 398
Part of a series: Yes and that is killing me inside because I don't have book 2 yet and I can't get the third one any time soon because I do not have that kind of power and 20FREAKING13 PEOPLE! *cough* I mean, yes.
Amazon link. (The paperback is only 10 bucks when I'm typing this. And, hello, 400 page book. Not a bad deal.)

Summary (from the back of the book): Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger abord the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends - and planet - behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously uplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.

Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2312 passengars have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage-heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.




(See, I told you I was putting spaces between the summary and the review.)





Review: You guys. YOU GUYS. I have so MANY FEELINGS about this book and I'm SO glad I have a blog where I can talk about this kind of thing because if I didn't, I would explode because my bestie who just read Across the Universe and A Million Suns, too, went to be and I still have all these FEELINGS.

First of all, the darn thing sucked me in like quicksand. Honestly, I was just going to read for a little bit. For a few minutes, maybe, until my mom got home and I had to help make dinner and stuff. I didn't even have that much time. I thought. Then the next thing I knew, it was six hours later and I had read a 400 page book with barely a break for air. You know, besides tweeting and that one time where I got lost on Youtube for ten minutes. That happens to other people, right?

Beth Revis' writing is at time blunt, completely without sugar-coating in moments that I can't imagine writing about. The scene where Amy and her parents are being frozen was heartbreaking, crystal clear with details and emotions and... it was amazing. And it was the opening scene. No pulling punches in this book. Not that anything was done for shock value, mind you. It was more like, "Here are the facts. What are you going to do about them?"

Plot: I don't want to spoil anything for you guys that skipped reading the longer blurb. (Handy how that works out for me who hates writing this part of the review, huh?) So let's just say that the plot was incredible. I was shocked at almost everything in the book and I'd like to think I'm hard to surprise.

Characters: Something that is really neat about Across the Universe was that it was told from both Amy and Elder's POV, alternating every other chapter. Both are first person present tense if you're wondering. If you're like me and you forget to read the chapter headers that SAY who's narrating which chapter, it's confusing for a minute, but just realize that they do alternate and you'll be fine.

Amy was... oh, she was awesome. In the first chapter (it's not a spoiler if it's in the first chapter, okay?), she finds out that the ship's launch has been delayed a year - after she's already been cryo frozen. She thinks, when it's too late to go back, "I want my year back." And even after a heck of an opening chapter, the kind that grabs you by the heartstrings and clings tight, who can't understand that kind of pain?

What I really liked about her was that she was normal. She wasn't Supergirl. She wasn't perfect. She was scared and angry and normal. When the setting of the book is a spaceship 300 years in the future, it's a sharp contrast that is seriously cool.

Elder... well, he was not normal. (And yes, he was hot. Like whoa.) But he was interesting, too, and having him narrating made the book a lot more than just Amy's story. But I will not say another word about him because the most interesting things about him, plot-wise, are total spoilers. So I'll give you a quote instead:
pg. 38
          I bet when Eldest posed for his portrait, he was reveling in the one thing I can't stand about life aboard the ship: the perfect evenness of everything.
          And that's why I'll never be as good an Eldest as he is.
          Because I like a little chaos.

As for the rest of the characters, it was fascinating thinking about just how people would react or change in this situation and I think Beth Revis does a fantastic job with that.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: It ended and I don't have all three. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

PG-13 stuff: Very little language. Some, not a ton. Many of the character use "frex" instead of... you know, but other than that, there's not a ton language-wise. For other stuff... it's for older/mature readers. I personally have no issues with anything in it.

Cover comments: I'm using the paperback cover because that's what I read but I liked the hardcover better. It's totally smexy, right? (Also, have you seen the German cover? It's very similar but not quite the same. Interesting, huh?) The paperback is fine. I was thinking my cousin might like this book and if I buy it for him, I'll probably try to buy the paperback because the hardcover is kinda pink and he is a dude, but I like the hardcover better myself.

Also, I don't think the paperback is super eye-catching. I didn't recognize it on the new book shelf at the library at first. (I'm really near-sighted, mind you, and couldn't read the title from where I was.) Like I said, it's fine, though. I like that the clothes the girl is wearing on the cover don't scream twenty-first century.

Conclusion: Did you guys ever see that Disney movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century or read the book This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger (which, zomg, has a cute new cover!!!) or... heck, Wall-E, even? Did you like those? You'll like this. Never read or seen any of those? You'll like this. Did you find my blog looking for book report information (shame on you! Do your own homework!)? Read this. You'll like it. At least, I really, really hope you will because I loved it. Four and a half roses.


Other notes:

- Amy called the thing she was cryo frozen (cryofrozen? cryo-frozen?) in her Snow White coffin. I thought it was a lot like Sleeping Beauty. Which, oddly, sometimes last year I tweeted about wanting to read a Sleeping Beauty book about a girl frozen into the "23rd and a half century". Weird, huh?
- "Holy crudnuts."
- A song played while I was reading this and it seemed to fit really well. Miserabile Visu by Anberlin. (Linked to youtube.)
- "Ahh!"

That's it! Oh, also, Happy Victoria Day!!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Trees

Okay, I have a question for you guys. Have you guys heard of a book called Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore? It comes out May 29th.

Something is really bothering me about the cover, though.


And it's this: I swear I've seen those trees before and I can't figure out where! It's not even that they seem familiar but I SWEAR I've seen those exact trees on another cover. I thought it might be this one:


(Dark Companion by Marta Acosta, July 2012)

But they aren't the same trees.

And I don't know why but it's kind of really bothering me that I can't think of the book that Angel Eyes' cover reminds me of XD So does anyone know if Angel Eyes' cover has a tree stock image that's been used on another book and if so, just what that book is?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (94)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

You may or may not know this about me but I kinda love movies that most people would say are for kids. Disney and the like. One of my favourites that isn't Disney is Anastasia. Awesome music, great characters, romance, all those good things, you know? (And as far as I'm concerned, that's how it really happened because history can suck it.) Seriously, I've seen this movie SO many times. I once had this dream that was like a post-Apocolyptic Anastasia/Zombies.

That was probably the result of watching Anastasia after a The Walking Dead marathon but if anyone actually wants to write that book, dude, I'd read it in a heartbeat.

Anyways. Here's a song from that movie I love:



(Once Upon a December by Liz Calloway.)

Are there any songs from movies that you guys love to listen to on their own? I adore the Coraline soundtrack as well.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (115)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter - To be release September 25th, 2012

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Well, the title to start with. I'm a big Alice in Wonderland fan. But also I've really liked everything of Gena Showalter's that I've read.

Next up:

Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery - To be released September 2012

Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing—winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love—seems beyond her reach.

But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn’t. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven’t even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: I read this book once upon a time by Joan Lowery Nixon called The Other Side of Dark about a girl who woke up from a coma after five years. There wasn't a paranormal twist but the memory of it has stuck with me with ages and makes me even more interested in this one. Also, Anything But Ordinary makes this song get stuck in my head. Also, Bryce is a cool name.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things I've Read Recently (3)

If you're new here, Things I've Read Recently are basically mini-reviews. Sometimes it'll be because I didn't have that much to say about a book, or it wasn't the main focus of this blog (like the romance novels I love) or that the books are overdue from the library and I desperately need to return them.

So here are a few more books I've read recently and my thoughts:

Dumb Luck by Lesley Choyce

Published: October 15th, 2011 by Red Deer Press
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page count: Goodreads says 214 but I forgot to check my copy before I returned it.
Part of a series: Nope, don't think so.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the publisher's website): As he approaches his 18th birthday, Brandon DeWolf knows he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He failed a grade in an undistinguished school career, and is contemplating spending two more years in school when most of his friends will be graduating at the end of the academic year. He tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, has no real ambitions, and seems to be at a dead end. Among the few happy moments of his life are the ones he spends with his good friend Kayla, a girl he's known from childhood, another misfit.

Two days before his birthday, however, everything changes for Brandon. First of all he falls out of a tree - and survives intact. On his birthday, savouring his lucky break, he picks up a lottery ticket, and discovers he's won three million dollars. Suddenly everyone's his good friend, and his parents - a discontented frequently squabbling pair - rejoice in anticipating all that this sudden bonanza will buy them. The school's hottest girl becomes Brandon's coach in this new unaccustomed life he has to adapt to. His old friend Kayla realizes their friendship is withering, and Brandon doesn't have the capacity to do much about that.

Plunged into a world that is completely new to him - and without any real moral compass to follow - Brandon flounders and eventually is brought down in disgrace, spending a night in jail after being caught drinking and driving. There is no happy ending for Brandon, just a solemn understanding that he cannot recover his old life and needs to find the integrity to map out a new one.

Thoughts: Okay, first of all, this is not the cover I read. Which I know is a small thing but it bothers me that this one doesn't match the one I read. So. Go look at amazon or the publisher's website to make me feel better. :P

I had some issues with this one. The largest one was that he won three million dollars, right? So a couple days after he claims it, he basically goes to the bank and in his bank account is three million dollars, right?

Except... that's not how it works. Lottery winnings are taxed like any income. And you pay more if you take a lump sum than if you take payments (like twenty-five grand a year or whatever it is you choose). Either way, you wouldn't get the three million. The taxes are why those dream houses people win can end up bankrupting you. And I know, suspension of disbelief and all that, but I think there's a line when suspension of disbelief doesn't apply and that line was crossed when a.) it was a contemporary book and b.) you can google this stuff!!

So I had a problem with that and... maybe it just wasn't completely my kind of book, but I found it a tad bit predictable. You guys might like this one more than me if contemporary is more your thing. It just didn't completely do it for me. But, hey, Canadian author! So check it out. But I'd probably give it a three and a half roses out of four.

Next up:

The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday

Published: September 1st, 2011 by ECW Press
Genre: Upper middle-grade to lower-YA paranormal mystery. (Is that a genre? It should be.)
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 292 of book, 318 with extras
Part of a series: Yes, but there's not a cliffhanger or anything.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town, short on friends and the child of a clinically depressed science teacher. Naturally, she spends most of her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery, which just happens to border her backyard. And that cemetary just happens to be the home of five dead teenagers who quickly become October's best friends.

When Sticksville Central High School’s beloved French teacher dies in a suspicious car accident, October enlists the aid of her dead friends to figure out why. Using October's smarts and the dead kid's abilities to walk through walls and stuff, they form the Dead Kid's Detective Agency solving Sticksville's most mysterious mysteries.

Soon October and the five dead kids find themselves in the middle of a nefarious murder plot - thick with car chases, cafeteria fights, sociopathic math teachers, and real estate appointments - and a zany adventure that could uncover the truth a forty-year-old explosion.

Thoughts: I liked this one. It wasn't perfect, but it was solid and good. How about we do the things that bothered me first just to get them out of the way? Okay? Okay.

So the book starts out in third person past tense, right? (He said, she said.) Present day and all. Then there's a first person present tense (I say, I am) diary entry from 1968 by some guy we've never heard of before, then the second chapter is first person past tense from October's POV.

Are you a little bit confused right now? So was I. It's confusing at first. And it takes FOREVER for us to find out who the heck is telling the third person chapters, plus the font changing between them was hard on my eyes. Personally I liked the first person ones better. The voice seemed better in those ones. But it wasn't a huge deal and I adjusted to it after a bit.

The other thing that bothered me a lot and I don't know why was that October was 13 and it was set in the present day, but she mentions her dad singing along to 60s songs he knew and embarrassing her. I'm 19 and my mom was born in 1965. (Don't tell her I said that or I'll die.) Buuuuut she was probably exaggerating and I'm nit-picking, which is my issue, not the book's.

Things I liked: October's voice is freaking hilarious. Here's a passage that cracked me up:
pg. 42
For the uninitiated, curling is a winter sport played on an ice surface that combines the fast-paced action of shuffleboard with the innate thrill of cleaning your house. That said, curling can occasionally be a very exciting and competitive sport to play, but spectators of curling should keep in mind that the appearance of the Zamboni machine should be regarded as the absolute height of excitement in any game.
Like, how funny is that??

October was a great character, the ghosts were really neat, the mystery was good - and I didn't guess who dun it - and I did enjoy this one quite a bit. Oh, and there were illustrations scattered throughout which is cool, plus it's Canadian. I'd read the sequel. Four roses out of five.


dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

Published: November 15th, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Thriller (That's not one I type very often but it totally fits, right? Right.)
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 248
Part of a series: Yes, but from what I can tell from reading the sequel's summary on Goodreads, they work as standalones, too. I think it's about completely different characters.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Ever feel like someone's watching you? Me, too. But lately it's been happening in my room.
When I'm alone.

A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I'm no longer Alicia Ruffino. I'm dancergirl. And suddenly it's like me against the world—everyone's got opinions.

My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy— - even he's acting weird. And some stalker isn't content to just watch anymore.

Ali. Dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you've seen me online, I've trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose way more than just my love of dancing. I could lose my life.

Thoughts: I don't know what I was expecting when I grabbed this one. Mostly it was new and I tend to steal most of the new books at the library because the whole new book thing doesn't happen that often when it comes to YA books. I was pretty much expecting your basic, did something stupid, ruined your reputation, date the popular guy, realize your best friend is in love with you and that you're better off just being yourself, plot. You know the ones, right?

Not. What. I. Got. There was a stalker!!!!! (Not that stalkers are a good thing. But it was exciting! There wasn't just a ruined reputation at stake; there was actual danger!)

Ali is not always the most likeable character. She can be a bit of an idiot, honestly. She was underage but drank and smoked pot (and you guys know how I feel about that) and made REALLY stupid choices sometimes (especially when she wasn't sober which kinda proves my point there). But she was also really, really interesting, especially the dancing stuff. I know next to nothing about dancing of any kind, mind you (I know the hokey-pokey and that's about it) but it was fascinating to read about.

The other characters were good. I adored her best friend and I only barely managed to guess who the stalker was. And honestly, I had two people I thought it might be.

One thing that bothered me isn't actually about the book. Ali's mother was born in Puerto Rico, and her father was, "a mixture of Italian, African-American, and, he claimed, a bit of Cherokee." Ali herself says she has a "mixed-salad heritage". Now do me a favour and scroll up to check out the cover again. I'll wait.

*waits*

Do you think the face on the cover looks like the girl in the book? Anyways. No judging a book by its cover, right? Right. Just by reviews, especially mine because I'm that awesome. Okay, seriously now, this one was a solid four and a half out of five roses. Recommended.

(Also, the title is supposed to have a lowercase D. It isn't a typo by me, honest!)

Okay, I have two more books to read today or I'm going to go bankrupt paying my overdue fees and I'm hoping for a mini-review of one of them and a full of the other, so... peace, tweeples!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (93)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

So last week, I talked about a song a ton of people have heard but a lot of people probably don't care if they admit to liking. This song... I'm just putting it out there, but you know this song. If you're like me, you probably don't want to admit it.

So. Here's a compromise.



(What Makes You Beautiful covered by Boyce Avenue.)

I think his voice is absolutely gorgeous, but what do you guys think?

Peace and cookies,
Laina