Friday, May 28, 2010
I liked that the way the mystery unfolded over the course of the plot. There were no slow points, and since there were clues in just about every chapter, the reveal wasn't left for a huge climax at the end. I thought Sam was quite the romantic guy! Gracie is a fish out of water for most of the book, a feeling that many readers will be able to identify with. I enjoyed being there with her as she saw the Mennonite people as something other than her back woods country assumptions. It seemed we met more modern Mennonites than the more conservative "old ways" ones. Nancy Mehl adds a ton of little details on their way of life - especially when it comes to the cooking - my mouth was watering the whole time! With a last shout out the beautiful cover, this series is sure to be a hit with the Amish and Mennonite readers.
If you like this book, keep your eyes peeled for the second in the series, Simple Deceit, arrive in December.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
Yes, I can't wait. The first book blew me away, the second book surpassed my expectations, and now I am highly anticipating this third and final book. Go Katniss!
Release Date: August 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I am such a fan of Jackson's books. They are deep family dramas, rich with southern atmosphere and heavy emotions. Taking the character of Jim Beverly from Gods in Alabama (in my opinion, also a 5 star book!) and writing an entirely new story from another point of view was quite a trip. I enjoy it when authors choose to revisit a town and it's characters, as it feels like there was more to tell- that the story wasn't quite done yet.
I liked that Jackson slipped into southern dialect where it was relevant. Dialect can sometimes be terribly distracting, but it this case it was used to really flesh out the characters of Rose Mae's father and high school friends, to show the reader what her younger life was like. The writing was very powerful, often taking my breath away with it's stark honesty. It is hard to make something like domestic violence beautiful to read, but Jackson took Rose Mae's emotions and made them into something tangible that the reader can identify with and swallow. It may have been a hard book to stomach at times (especially the scenes with abuse), but I would read it all over again in a heartbeat.
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Originally released in March, 1995.
Oooh... a dead end. How spooky... I liked this one, actually. It was a scary, the whole idea of a hit-and-run. The thought of someone knowing your secret and killing your friends off one by one, but you can't go to anyone for help. I liked seeing some cameos from Shadyside Celebrities, such as Corky the troubled cheerleader, and even Pete from The Overnight. The only thing I found myself wanting was one more chapter at the end - the story kind of ends on an anti-climactic cliffhanger. I would have liked to see one more chapter knowing everything truly was all right in the end. The cover is also totally appropriate, good choice from the art department!
Fear Rating: 2 out of 3 Screams
Friday, May 21, 2010
Parkhurst's novels have yet to be anything less than extraordinary. Dogs of Babel is one of the few books I continue to recommend to anyone who hasn't read it yet. Her second book, Lost and Found, was not quite on par with her first, but was still a fantastic read. And now with The Nobodies Album, she has returned to the gasp-out-loud high impact story I have come to expect from her.
Let me start by saying I often find reading stories-within-stories to be tedious and distracting from the actual story I want to read. But in The Nobodies Album, the pieces flow together seamlessly. In fact, I came to look forward to the excerpts of Octavia's stories, as they were equally as engrossing as the main plot. The whole concept is based around changing the ending to a story after it is written, and in this sense Parkhurst plays with the readers mind, making them wonder if endings truly aren't written in stone (as they say).
Parkhurst's writing gets deep into the psyche of Octavia, a mother having to go through more than her fair share of tragedies. There are some truly graphic scenes that made me have to pause my reading and think of something cheery, just to be able to go on reading again. However, there are plenty of tender moments in the book as well, and I found myself not wanting the book to end so soon.
Parkhurst is an author I will always look forward to reading more of!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Ernst’s world is one of endless admirers, including foreign dignitaries and heads of state. Hailed as a marvel of late nineteenth-century automation, he is the crowning achievement of his master, Karl Gruber. A world-famous builder of automated clocks, Gruber has reached the pinnacle of his art in Ernst—a man constructed entirely of clockwork.
Educated and raised in the Gruber household to be a gentle, caring soul, Ernst begins to discover a profound love for his master’s daughter, Giselle. Just as their relationship becomes intimate, however, tragedy strikes and the family falls apart. Ernst’s serene and happy existence is shattered and changed forever.
Abandoned, knowing no other life but the one he has led, Ernst allows himself to wind down in a kind of suicide.
Over one hundred years later, he awakens in a strange new land, the world he’s known long gone. Along with his mentor and guide, a well-meaning if slightly unstable homeless man, Ernst attempts to piece together the events that brought him to his new home—and to let go of the century-old tragedy that still haunts him.
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Lighthouse keeper Tessa Lonike savors her solitude on Little Mer, an island off the coast of Maine, guarding her true identity as a mermaid. But when Tessa spots a man thrashing around in the ice cold waters during a storm, she must use her ability as a mermaid to pull him to shore. And a year later, when Kenneth meets her again, he's determined not to let Tessa slip away. But when Tessa'a archaeologist ex-lover comes back to town with a clue to her heritage, she may be forced to leave her happiness behind...
Yes, another mermaid book. *droooool* Seems to be a real influx of mer-books this year, but I am not disappointed at all. Love this cover, can't wait to read it!
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Can I start off by saying how beautiful I think this cover is? The simple colors and graphics are absolutely stunning. Sisters Red surprised me. I was not sure what to expect from this book, and what I got was not at all what I thought I would. The alternating chapters between Scarlett and Rosie's point of view are necessary and I thought they did a fabulous job of fleshing out both the sisters and the story. It was almost enough to make me want a chapter from Silas' point of view, as he is in the story from the very first chapter, yet we really know nothing about who he is, where he came from, or why the girls have come to feel as safe around him as they do. We get a little information about him, but I wanted more.
The fight scenes were scary and very realistic. Pearce was able to write teeth-grinding action that made me flinch with every rough impact Scarlett took. Those girls are tough! And perhaps what I appreciated most of all was that Pearce has written a different take on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale, as well as an uncommon plot from the rest of the mainstream werewolf YA fiction out these days. It is enough to make me want to read more from Jackson Pearce.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Sunday, May 9, 2010
This Gorgeous Game is a disturbing look at an inappropriate relationship. Though Father Mark's attention never becomes sinister, the reader will feel just as panicked and trapped as Olivia does. Freitas writes extremely beautiful prose on a very difficult subject, getting deep inside Olivia's thoughts and feelings. I think there are pieces to Olivia's life that all readers out there will be able to identify with. Plus, I loved the two best friends in Ash and Jada - Olivia is so lucky to have friends that love her so much! There are not many YA books written on this topic, and this book could stand as a cautionary tale for girls who might find themselves in a similar position as Olivia. A quick book that I read in one sitting. And though I breathed a sigh of relief when the last page was turned, it will haunt me in the years to come.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Friday, May 7, 2010
Total fan alert: Giffin's Something Borrowed is one the very few books I have read more than once. All of her books have been amazing for me, always sucking me in, always left me holding the book close to my chest. This latest book effortlessly met my already high expectations. I was sure I was going to get absorbed in the story, but was still unprepared at just how quickly Giffin made it impossible for me to set the book aside for any length of time.
I liked that this story was a spin-off of Something Borrowed (her older brother is Dex, making Rachel her sister-in-law), and that we even got a brief update how Darcy's doing. Reading about dissolving relationships is hard to do and yet I find myself being unable to turn away from them. Family dramas like this provide readers with something everyone can relate to, be it subtle pieces of advice your Mom gives you, little paranoia's your friends help fuel, or simple everyday relationship worries. Giffin's writing is sincere and brutally realistic. It didn't matter to me who "the bad guy" was in this story, it was hard not to agree with the feelings of everyone involved. And that's what I like most about reading Giffin - she gave me a lump in my throat and made my chest feel tight through the last page, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Wars may end. But vengeance is forever.
Roudette's story was a simple one. A red cape. A wolf. A hunter. Her mother told her she would be safe, so long as she kept to the path. But sometimes the path leads to dark places. Roudette is the hunter now, an assassin known throughout the world as the Lady of the Red Hood. Her mission will take her to the country of Arathea and an ancient fairy threat. At the heart of the conflict between humans and fairies stands the woman Roudette has been hired to kill, the only human ever to have fought the Lady of the Red Hood and survived-the princess known as Sleeping Beauty.
This series is my guilty pleasure. The writing is so good, the action is fantastic. the characters familiar yet better. Sooooooo can't wait to read this next installment. I hope Jim Hines can keep these books going forever. Forever!
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I have very much enjoyed Pamela Morsi's books, ever since Bitsy's Bait and BBQ was released by Mira in 2007 and Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar in 2009. The Bikini Car Wash is along the same veins in that it is a woman owning and operating her own place of business, but this book did not live up to the magic of the previous two. It was the same breezy romance with a strong woman story, but I felt it moved a little slowly.
That having been said, The Bikini Car Wash is one of those feels-like-it-really-could-have-happened stories. I was totally rooting for the bikini car wash to succeed, as if it were my personal friends and my corner near the grocery store! Pete Guthrie was quite a romantic man. And I liked the very real people from around town, like the conservative old biddies and the blue-haired Cher-L. I thought the ever-changing point of view was at times a little distracting. I couldn't really get deep into any of the characters and didn't feel that any of them were truly developed. I would have liked to spend more time inside the head of Andi or Pete, instead of Andi's Dad or Jelly. All in all though, it was a cute story - one that you could pass around to your friends and exchange your own thoughts on the idea of a bikini car wash.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars