Monday, November 4, 2013

Things I've Read Recently (8)

As a reminder, Things I've Read Recently is a post series I do of mini-reviews, basically, of either books I don't have enough for a full post on or that I need to return to the library because they're overdue and I'm already having library card issues or whatever reasons.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Published: 1981 by HarperCollins
Genre: MG/Children's Poetry
Page Count: 169 in my copy
Part of a series: No.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Here in the attic of Shel Silverstein you will find Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, the Meehoo with an Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with Broiled Face, and find out what happens when Somebody steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, a Mountain snores, and They Put a Brassiere on the Camel.

From the creator of the beloved poetry collections Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up, here is another wondrous book of poems and drawings.

Thoughts: This is another one I got for the kid I baby-sit and ended up reading myself. They're just amazing books. I think this one, Falling Up, and Where the Sidewalk Ends would be an amazing set to buy as a gift for the kid in your life (hey, Christmas is coming). I think they'd really appeal to reluctant readers because the actual poems are smaller so it's not so daunting. The pictures are great, too. Those three would also be quite interesting as a schooling unit, I think.

Don't Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies by Shel Silverstein

Published: Originally in 1964, by HarperCollins
Genre: MG/Childrens' Poetry
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 64 according to goodreads and there aren't page numbers in the book so we'll go with that!
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon / Book Depository

Summary (from goodreads): It's a zoo in here!

Have you ever...
Seen a Gritchen in your kitchen?
Dared to dance with the One-Legged Zantz?
Declined to dine with the Glub-Toothed Sline?

You haven't? Well then, step inside—but only if you are ready to be amazed, tickled, astonished and entertained by this most unusual bestiary of silly and scary creatures.

Thoughts: This actually isn't my favourite Silverstein book. I like the coloured pictures. I think it works well for this collection, although I am fond of the black and white illustrations of the other books. I believe they are coloured with watercolours and it's very pretty. I also think kids who liked the format of On Beyond Zebra! by Dr. Seuess but are needing something a little more challenging would have a great time with this one. Reluctant readers might have some struggles with some of the stranger names, though, and this isn't my favourite of his work.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Published: June 14th, 2012 by Dial Books according to goodreads and Speak which is a division of Penguin books according to my copy.
Genre: YA Contemporary
Binding: Paperback (baby)
Page Count: 394 (Ha!!)
Part of a series: There is going to be a companion novel that'll come out in 2015 but it reads like a standalone and as it's a companion novel telling a side-character's story, it's not really a sequel. So, yes, but if you don't normally read partial series, don't worry about it?
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Summary: I actually WoW'd this, which was what made me grab it when my library showed it on the "New Books" shelf. As I said in that post, I thought it sounded like a cute love story. And it was, but I was honestly really surprised by it. The characters had surprising depth and had wide and varied life stories, which I like. Also, SHOCKER, there was sex! That was realistic! And nobody got pregnant, or an STD, or died. Like magic! *cough* Okay, okay, I'm turning the sarcasm off now. I honestly was surprised by how much I liked this one because I am harder on contemporaries. I really liked that not every problem, while not left on a cliffhanger, wasn't perfectly solved, because it was realistic. Not everything does work out perfectly.

34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

Published: September 4th, 2012 by SimonPulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 325
Part of a series? I don't think so, no.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....

Thoughts: I liked this one. It actually reminded me of Jumping Off Swings in that it was several POVs dealing with an event that changed their sitatuions greatly. Some of Ellie's characterization came off a bit lazy to me, like the author was using all the stereotypical "bad girl" behaviours to show how "troubled" Ellie was. And I know that can be realistic but sometimes I feel like when you use ALL THE ISSUES in a book, it can come off a little... exagerated. But that is just me and if you liked Jumping Off Swings, you'd probably like this one. And one of the four POVs featured a LGBTQA character which is almost nice to see.

I have to return this and it's 2 in the morning so that's about all I've got XD

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I FORGOT ABOUT MY BLOGOVERSARY

Blogoversary? That is a HARD word to spell XD

So my fifth year anniversary of blogging was October 4th and no, I'm not linking to that post because it was terrible XD Five whole years, wow.




...I got carried away with the free stock images.

Anyways, thanks for sticking around, guys. It means a lot.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, September 30, 2013

Things I've Read Recently (7)

So! If you're new around them these here parts, Things I've Read Recently is a post series I do of mini-reviews, basically, when I'm too lazy/have too many books/not enough thoughts to do real reviews. This edition of Things I've Read Recently is brought to you by the letter G for Grammarly, and is sponsered by the nice people at Grammarly. Grammarly is an automated proofreader that checks for spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and plagiarism.*



I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Keiran Scott

Published: May 2005 by... Speak according to my copy and Puffin according to Goodreads. So, Penguin, basically.
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback (that's waterproof, apparently)
Page Count: 246 in my copy but Goodreads says 272, but, you know, editions
Part of a series? Yes, it's the first of a trilogy.
Amazon (and there are some really cheap options on there right now) / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Annisa Gobrowski has a problem - everyone at her new Florida high school is blonde. If Annisa's New Jersey attitue didn't make her stand out enough, her dark pixie cut sure does. Yet no lack of golden highlights is going to stop Annisa from making the best of Sand Dune High, especially once she checks out their competition-level cheerleading squad, and her uberhot, guitar-playing new neighbor Daniel.

But a disasterous first day during which Annisa accidentally breaks the nose of the most popular girl in school, ticks off Daniel's girlfriend for even existing, and discovers the cheerleaders all hate her is almost enough to make a girl run for a box of Herbal Essances Amazon Gold. Nevertheless, the cheerleader in Annisa just won't let her quit. Sand Dune High had better watch out - this non-blonde is here to stay.

Thoughts: I'm really seeing the splashproof thing on the cover right now and I'm kinda tempted to splash my book... *shakes head* Anyways! This is very much a good beach-y, light read. It's not very serious about itself and it's easy enough to read even if you're half-distracted. This isn't one of my favourite books, but it was enjoyable enough. A lot of this is me not being hugely into this particular side of the contemporary genre.

I did like the way that cheerleading was seen as a serious sport and not just a stereotype and I think a lot of people would enjoy that. I also liked the way a lot of the female characters were written, the way that the girls weren't strictly revolving around guys, you know? They had family issues and school issues, cared about their friends and had priorities above romance, which was awesome. I wasn't in love with all of the romance, but again, that had a lot two do with my own personal tastes. This is probably a three, maybe a three and a half, for me, but I think a lot of people who like lighter contemporary books, this could very well be a higher four. So I personally liked this, did not love it, but would recommend it. Do I make sense right now?

Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Published: September 2010 by... okay, my copy says Poppy which is by Little Brown, apparently, and Hatchette Book Groups and then Goodreads say HarperCollins but I think that is an international copy?
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 234
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls.

Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before-he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part.

With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected.

Thoughts: Okay, first things first. I won this in a contest like two or three years ago. And I had to wake up at like 7am and stay home until it showed up to sign for it which wasn't so much fun because I don't like mornings, but the point is it's been years since I won this, right? So, for some reason, I had it in my head that this was a "dorky kid becomes a vampire to impress girls" book, not a "dorky kid pretends to become a vampire to impress girls" book. And I had that in my head for ninety pages. Because I'm apparently really unobservant. I don't even know how I did that, honestly.

So, yes. This is contemporary, not a funny paranormal. Which made a lot more sense once I got that! I did really enjoy this, though. It was funny and clever and I really liked Fin, the narrator/main character. He was interesting and funny - who thinks, "Huh, girls like vampires. I'll pretend to be a vampire to impress them!"?? - and I really liked the relationship he had with his twin brother. If the cover was a little different, I think I might buy this for my cousin. I don't think he'd read it with this cover, though. Solid four for this one, maybe a four and a half.

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

Published: January 1996 by HarperCollins Childrens Books
Genre: MG/Childrens' Poetry
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 171
Part of a series: No, but most of his books are similar enough that you could use them all in a display or study unit or whatever easily.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Shel Silverstein's magical tradition continues with this long-awaited companion to A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends. Here are more than 100 new poems and drawings by the master of wit and wisdom, featuring a wealth of wonderfully amusing and lovable characters, including Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels, Reachin' Richard, the clothes-dryin' Moose, and Danny O'Dare, the Dancin' Bear. 160 black and white line drawings.

Thoughts: I actually ordered this for the kid I baby-sit, but I never got around to giving to it to her and ended up rereading it myself. I've read it before as a kid and probably reread it again, but I still really enjoy these books. Great for kids and fun to read for anyone. Thumbs up for sure

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Published: January 2012 by Candlewick
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 319
Part of a series? No, standalone.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly one-sided. The object of her obsession — ahem, affection — is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie’s feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett’s constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock — all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder — until he calls to say he’s fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she’s finally had enough. It’s time for a total Garrett detox!

Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized self-help guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.

Thoughts: I was actually surprised by how much I liked this because I am kind of hard with contemporaries. I think we're actually had this one at the library for a while and I just never clicked with it until the kid I baby-sit and I were doing my summer reading and I was running out of books because I read kinda fast. But I'm very glad I finally grabbed it. I took it with me on a trip 3 hours away from home and I didn't lose track of what was going on in the book, which is pretty cool considering there was a fair amount of time between reading jaunts.

I really liked that this book wasn't really about Garrett. It was very much about Sadie, her interests, her making new friends (Girls! Who are friends with other girls! What an idea!) and just plain about her. I quite liked this one. Solid four, four and a half. Right between four and a four and a half. Four and a quarter!

(I will admit to writing the tail end of this post slightly loopy on cold medicine. Apologies.)

Peace and cookies,
Laina


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Things I've Read Recently (6)

Wow, I'm still bad at the beginning part of the whole posting thing. I've been staring at this thing for five minutes now wondering where to start.

Alright, well. If you're new around here or if you forgot who I am and what the point of my blog is while I kept up my year of radio silence, Things I've Read Recently is a post series I do of mini-reviews, basically, when I'm too lazy/have too many books/not enough thoughts to do real reviews.

So, as I'm sure you've worked out by now, here's some stuff I've read recently!

Encore Edie by Annabel Lyon

Published: January 2011 by Puffin Canada
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 163
Part of a series? Apparently it's actually a sequel. Whoops. I didn't mean to do that.
Amazon / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Life isn't easy for thirteen-year-old Edie Snow. She's the youngest kid in her new high school, she has a serious shortage of cool clothes, and her own family doesn't even understand her. Add to that a sister who's acting crazy, a boy friend who wants to be a boyfriend, and a mortifying nickname, and it's about as much as one girl can bear. To make matters worse, her mom is making her to walk her cousin Merry, who has Down syndrome, home from school every day.

Edie figures she can make new friends and get out of walking Merry by joining the school play, but putting on an ambitious musical production of Shakespeare's King Lear only ends up alienating her further from her schoolmates. With the musical on the brink of disaster, Edie realizes that if she doesn't find some help - fast - it'll be curtains for her play... and her social life.

Thoughts: I didn't actually know this was a sequel. Apparently I skipped the little About the Author at the front of the book where it, you know, told me that completely. And the "Also by this author" list. Wow. I'm actually kind of impressed by myself right now. Seriously. Anyways. APPARENTLY this stands on its own quite well. I didn't have any moments of confusion due to not reading the first book (not that I KNEW their was a first book at the time, but the point stands!) or anything. I'm sure it works quite well as a sequel, too, but I wouldn't know because I had a moment of mind blankness. Or several.

Edie is thirteen in this. Very, very thirteen at times. Very, very, very accurately thirteen. But she grows up as the book goes on, learns a few life lessons and gets kicked around a bit, and comes out a better person for it. All in all, sweet book with a good story and a main character who really does grow as a person, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one. It'd be really good for kids around that age or a little younger, even. (Depending on reading levels.) Her cousin Merry was also portrayed really well, as an actual, you know, human being, and wasn't degraded into a stereotype or anything. Edie's reactions to her and the way she treated Merry, too, were honestly realistic for a thirteen year old, even and maybe especially in some of the moments where Edie didn't treat Merry the best she could. I really enjoyed Edie's character growth, though, as she learned to be the type of person she really wanted to be. Four out of five.


Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe

Published: December 2010 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Mystery? Thriller? Either one of those or just YA Contemporary.
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 326
Part of a series: Not as far as I can tell, but apparently I'm not very good at that.
Amazon (it's 3.60 as I'm typing this for the paperback, but there's only 4 copies and this doesn't go up for at least a week so you all might hate me a little by the time you see this) / Book Depository (actually the paperback here is like 4 dollars, too) / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run. Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface-not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she's forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.

Thoughts: Hooboy. Okay. See. To be honest? The only reason I finished this is because I wanted to know who tried to kill her. Jane was annoying and flaky and shallow and ugh I just did not like this book. It draaaaaaagged so much and the romances - I didn't even CARE, you guys. Guys, that's just sad. (Guys, I want a castle.) I just... I didn't really even care about who tried to kill her (she annoyed me so much I kinda wished they'd succeeded), I just wanted to know to know, the random sexuality plot crisis in the middle of the book made me roll my eyes, the dead best friend thing was seriously overkill. I'm giving this a one. One and a half tops. Sorry. Just not the book for me at ALL. Moving on.

Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborn

Published: September 2008 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Umm... YA... Thriller? Kind of? I'm not entirely sure.
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 284
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Jenny Green is a spoiled teen "princess" and the newest junior at Montreal's Molson Academy. Jenny wants a fresh start in her new school, and she's curious to see what Montreal has to offer, most especially in the boy department. Beautiful, charming, and sharp-witted, Jenny has no trouble getting the boys to fall for her.

But when she discovers just how despicable the male gender can be - with the lying, the cheating, and the utter disrespect - she decides to make them pay...with their lives.

Thoughts: Luckily, I liked this one a lot better than the last. I'm very much biased in that I liked that it was set in Canada XD I don't know much about Montreal, though, honestly. I'm kind of across the country from there. It was really interesting reading about it, though, and I liked that a lot. And I don't usually notice setting in books unless it's really noticable for some reason.

Jenny was a little... odd. But that's probably the point when you go into a book where the basic plot is, "Men suck, I'm going to kill them all." Just know going in that this is a book where a sixteen/seventeen (I can't remember her exact age, sorry) goes on a murdering spree. Her state of mine isn't exactly going to be steady. It's a solid three and a half, for sure. Not amazing, but decent and solid and a relief after reading a book that so very much did not work for me.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Published: June 2009
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 383 of actual book, 399 with some other stuff (author's note, etc.)
Part of a series? No.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from the back of the book because I like it better than the goodreads one): Ever since her parents' divorce, Auden has been unable to sleep. She's built a routine that gets her through the night; but when the opportunity comes for her to come to spend her summer at the beach with her father and his new family, she jumps at the chance to break out of her rut.

 Life at the beach proves more challenging than Auden expects. In addition to trying to figure out how she fits into her father's new life, she also has to navigate the girls at work with their gossip and friendship and crushes. And then there's Eli, a fellow insomniac who becomes her nocturnal tour guide. With an endless supply of long summer nights between them, almost anyone can happen...

Thoughts: I really liked Along for the Ride. This was actually my first Sarah Dessen! Which is basically blasphemy in the book blogging world, huh? The writing in this is just beautiful. It's easy to sink into, it keeps you wanting to read it, it's not a struggle in anyway. Auden was a really interesting character, too. I think she's one of the first YA characters I've actually read with chronic insomnia, I think. (I heard someone in an old, old review say that Auden didn't really have insomnia because she could crash in the wee hours of the morning - usually five or six, I believe - and she'd sleep until afternoon. Well, sure, but it was summer. During the school year, that equals two or three hours of sleep a night, tops. Also, rude, dude.)

It's been quite a while since I read this one (almost two months now, I think) but I just really enjoyed it. Oh, also. This is really shallow but I really like the cover. I just think it's really cute. Highly recommend, four and a half out of five.

Alrighty! I still have more books so there will be at least one more of these posts! How are you guys liking them?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, September 16, 2013

Things I've Read Recently (5)

Hey, remember when I used to do this blogging thing? Yeah *cough* Me neither. I had a bit of a... rough year and I got overwhelmed by basically everything and I'm still trying to ease back into doing all the things I used to do and miss. So. Hi. Here I am and hopefully I'm going to be sticking around for a good while! So, um... patience with me while I get used to, you know, doing this again, please?

Anyways, if you're new/you forgot in the year since I've last done this (which is kind of totally reasonable - what on earth are 370 of you people still doing around???), Things I've Read Recently is a post series I do of mini-reviews, basically, when I'm too lazy/have too many books/not enough thoughts to do real reviews. I actually have a fair sized stack here so I'm probably going to divide this up into three or four posts of three or four books each.

Alright, now, we should probably organize this by which books need to go back to the library first, so...

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Published: August 2011 by Puffin according to my copy and Amulet Books according to Goodreads
Genre: MG Fantasy
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 381
Part of a series? Standalone.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indie Bound

Summary (from goodreads because it's a bit shorter than the back cover blurb): Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves. As you can well imagine, blind children have incredible senses of smell, and they can tell what lies behind a locked door—be it fine cloth, gold, or peanut brittle—at fifty paces. Moreover, their fingers are so small and nimble that they can slip right through keyholes, and their ears so keen that they can hear the faint clicks and clacks of every moving part inside even the most complicated lock. Of course, the age of great thievery has long since passed; today there are few child-thieves left, blind or otherwise.

At one time, however, the world was simply thick with them. This is the story of the greatest thief who ever lived. His name, as you’ve probably guessed, is Peter Nimble.

Thoughts: First things first, holy HECK this book is pretty. Like, clickity clicky the amazon link and check out the preview there because the first 5 pages or so are gorgeous. For the rest of the book, there's just a picture at the beginning of each chapter (I think the US versions of the Harry Potter books did something similiar, but all mine are UK versions because Canada), but the first few pages are really pretty.

This actually took me a fair few days to read, but I was reading in half hour spurts with the kid I baby-sit (I enforced summer reading because I'm a terrible baby-sitter :P) and I think I actually left for like three days in the middle of it and went to my aunt's and stuff, so a lot of that was just being tired from travelling and, you know, hanging around with my family and stuff, not to be reflected on the book. I actually think this would be really good for kids who are slightly more advanced readers, though, because it is almost 400 pages, and it isn't a quick read, you know? I'd say probably ten would be a decent starting age on average, or kids who like Cornelia Funke, Diane Duane's Young Wizards' books, possibly Lemony Snicket fans, any who are really into the thicker, fantasy books. I definitely enjoyed it myself. Good four out of five.

The House on the Gulf by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Published: February 2006 by Simon and Schuster for Young Readers according to goodreads and Alladdin Paperbacks according to the back of my copy
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 201
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): When Britt's older brother, Bran, lands a summer job house-sitting for the Marquises, an elderly couple, it seems like a great opportunity. Britt and Bran have moved to Florida so their mother can finish college, and the house-sitting income will allow their mom to quit her job and take classes full-time. Having never lived in a real house before, Britt is thrilled. There's only one problem: Britt starts to suspect her family isn't supposed to be there.

She's been noticing that Bran is acting weird and defensive - he hides the Marquises' mail, won't let anyone touch the thermostat, and discourages Britt from meeting any of the neighbors. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Britt starts investigating and makes a startling discovery - the Marquises aren't who Bran has led her and their mom to believe. So whose house are they staying in, and why has Bran brought them there?

Thoughts: I am reasonably sure that I've actually read this one before. The library copy is older. (This actually isn't the cover of the copy I read, but this one is prettier so let's run with it this time, cool? Also I already uploaded it and I don't want to change it now.)We've actually had it since about May 2006 (we used to stamp books) and it seemed familar the whole time I was reading it. I had an idea about the ending but it was driving me up the wall that I swore I knew how it was going to end but I just wasn't sure.

This was another "I'm enforcing summer reading" book, for the record. I made the kid read for half an hour every day that I was there and read for half an hour myself (setting a good example, you know). She complained, but I think she'll appreciate it. One day. In the far off future. One day.

If I didn't read this as a kid, I should have, because I think I personally would have enjoyed it a lot. I was always a mystery fan, though. Somewhere between three and a half and four for this one, probably leaning closer to four.

Crush. Candy. Corpse. by Sylvia McNicoll

Published: February 2012 by James Lorimer & Company
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: ARC
Page Count: 219
Part of a series: Nope, apparently I haven't been reading many of those lately.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Paradise Manor is depressing - the smells are bad and the residents are old. Sunny would much rather be doing her volunteer hours at Salon Teo, but her teacher won't let her. Who says volunteering at a hair salon doesn't benefit the community?

But working with the Alzheimer's patients has a surprising effect on Sunny. Along with Cole, the grandson of one of the residents, she begins to see that the residents don't have much more choice about their lives than she does: what they eat, how they are treated by staff, even what they watch on television. So Sunny does what she can to make the residents happy - even if she has to sometimes break the rules to do it.

But when tragedy strikes at Paradise, Sunny's left to make the decision about whether or not to honor a promise that Cole made to his grandmother about her life and her death.

Thoughts: I kinda didn't like this one that much. It was a quick read at only two hundred pages, I'll give it that, but I just... didn't really enjoy it greatly. Sunny was whiny and annoying and was accused of manslaughter and still couldn't seem to take anything seriously. Not to mention her relationships made my eyes twitch and I half-wanted to smack her upside the back of the head through most of the book. It wasn't really that exciting, either. Dragged a lot. Not a fan of this one. Pretty much a two out of five for me. Maybe a three, tops. But probably a two, two and a half.

January 2015 edit: This is a Canadian book.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Published: 2009 by Candlewick Press
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 230
Part of a series? Nopers.
Amazon (and the Kindle version is only 6.38 right now, just fyi) / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from the back of the book because I like it better than the goodreads one): Ellie has hooked up with more than a few boys. Each time, she is certain there will be more to the encounter than just sex. While she is with them, she feels loved. For a while, anyway. So when Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life, leads her from a party to the backseat of his van, Ellie follows. But their "one-time thing" is far from perfect: Ellie gets pregnant. Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their close friends, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions. No matter what Ellie chooses, the lives of all four teenagers will never be the same.

Thoughts: First - how come all teenage girls in YA books who have sex and aren't in a relationship are only doing it because they're broken and yet the boys they sleep with are only in it for the sex? Where are the teenage girls who have responsible, safe, consenting sex just because they want to? *rants a little more just to get it off her chest*

On to the actual book. For only having 230 pages, it has 41 chapters, and four POVs. There's a fair amount of headhopping that could be kind of confusing at times, but for the most part, it worked alright. I actually liked Corinne and Caleb's POVs better than Ellie and Josh's. I thought it was interesting to see the situation from an outside perspective and, erm, Ellie had moments where she was just a tad... thick-headed - although I supppose it was realistic, but it occasionally went a bit far and she got a little annoying. Not terribly, but there were moments where I just wanted to shake her.

Although there were a lot more moments where I wanted to hug her. And a fair few where I wanted to smack her doctor... Oh, erm, spoilers, okay? So if you don't want to know which way Ellie decides to handle the pregnancy, you are going to want to skip to the next paragraph or so and I'll talk for a bit to give you some skipping room. Hi, how was your day? Good, good to hear. Wait, ducks? Weird. I'm running out of words stop reading to avoid it now okay? So, Ellie eventually goes into labour and goes to the hospital. There's a moment where they examine her, internally, and she tells them to stop, but they keep going anyways and she's in pain and panicking and they just sort of ignore it when she tells them not to touch her. Yeah, there's this little thing doctors need called consent. They could have taken two minutes to a.) GET CONSENT BEFORE TOUCHING HER and b.) calm down the scared teenager giving birth. I seriously just... did not like that scene. (Also apparently the baby was breech and it wasn't discovered until she was in labour, which I've always heard that they start noticing that when you're coming up to term, because the baby's head should drop as a normal thing that occurs at the end of pregnancy, right? Like, you can feel that from outside the abdomen, even, can't you?) At the end of the book (MORE SPOILERS HEYO) there's a scene where it's pretty explicit that Ellie isn't okay emotionally, is possibly suffering some form of post-partum depression that apparently no one's noticed. I really just question her medical care.

So I had an issue with that one scene, especially, but otherwise, I do think it was a good book. Kind of sad and an emotional read, though. Definitely not a light read. The ending was left unfinished in a way that was actually pretty realistic for me and worked well. Things were wrapped up enough where it was done, but none of the characters, especially Josh and Ellie, knew what was going to happen in their lives, and that was realistic for their particular situation. I'm not a huge fan of the "sex is evil and destroys your life!!!!1!" narrative, but the writing sold me pretty well on this one. Three and a half out of five.

Alrighty. I did a thing! Read the thing, people. Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, September 9, 2013

*leans in real close*

You guys miss me?

(Also come check this place out. It's gotten a face-lift. What do we think?)