Friday, April 29, 2011

Bound by Book-to-Movie Law: Water For Elephants

Book-to-Movie Law states that once you have read the book, you are bound by the media to go see the movie based on said book, and therefor compare to two.

When they first announced this movie I was immediately excited, and then almost as immediately hesitant. As one of my favorite books, it's hard to think a movie could possibly do it any justice. I was equally unsure about Robert Pattinson being in it. But when all was said and done, the movie was good. It entertained, it told a story, it had incredible costumes (I want some!). Though this was certainly not an easy movie to watch. There is brutal animal cruelty, and more gory fist fights than I thought would be crammed into a movie about love. August, played by Christoph Waltz, was very good. Even Mr. Pattinson was watchable. All in all, while I loved watching the costumes and sets and animals perform, the book ignited imagination far more.

Bottom Line: The book was better.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 4/27/11

BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore

For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren—the highest calling a mermaid can have. Then Dosinia runs away to the mainland, and Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood—a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship... and ignite the emotions for a love so great it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

Another mermaid title to swoon over! This one sounds like a classic mermaid tale, but I am excited to try out this new author!

Release Date: June 7, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Kate has just moved to Eden, the small town where her mother grew up and where she now wishes to die. Kate is already miserable, but when a cruel prank goes terribly wrong, she is in hell. Then she meets a mysterious man named Henry, who is not only attractive, but also seems to have otherworldly powers. It is not long before Kate finds herself in a deal with Henry that she cannot break. Yet the more time she spends with him in Eden Manor, the more she comes to like what he has to offer her. But first, there is a series of unknown and possibly deadly tests she must pass.

The Goddess Test opens with an intense first couple of scenes that got me hooked right from the start. I was instantly snagged by Kate's dark and miserable life with her dying mother and new location. I also loved the retelling of the Persephone myth. It's always been one of my favorites, but Aimee Carter does a superb job bringing into modern times. And she makes Henry so dang alluring! Her writing style is very readable, with angsty and moody action that keeps the reader craving chapter after chapter. Kate is a very down-to-earth character, acting as real and as raw as I imagine a real life person would in her situation. This is a book that is sure to linger in your thoughts long after the last page.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert

Essie Myles has been writing obituaries for her small town newspaper every since graduating from the eighth grade. Now at age 83, she has written hundreds of obituaries and has even made a little bit of a name for herself among other obit writers. This also means she knows who everyone in town is and where they came from. Including Daisy, a lonely woman who made local history when she reported her daughter Lenore kidnapped. It has been years since the investigation ended, but a few cult followers (and Daisy) still believe she is alive and waiting to be found. More skeptical residents aren't yet convinced she ever existed at all. When Essie is approached to finally write Lenore's obituary, she navigates through an old story where fact and fiction are often confused.

I felt like I enjoyed this book, but am not really sure why. I wasn't excited to get back to reading it, but whenever I picked it up I would like what I read. The ending did not provide any closure and left me with an end-of-the-book void. I was drawn to Essie's calm and factual tone of voice. And I loved the way she told the events of the story, as if she were sitting next to me, sipping tea on the couch. All of the characters had delightful little quirks, pleasantly humorous and fun to read. When all is said and done, I am not sure I would pick up another of Schaffert's books, but this one was a good read.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 4/20/11

EVERLASTING by Alyson Noel

Their darkest enemies now defeated, Damen and Ever are free to embark upon their final quest—to free Damen from the poison lingering in his body. If they can just find the antidote, they’ll finally be able to feel each other’s touch—and reach the bright future they’ve been longing for. But their search will lead them into the most formidable terrain yet… into the dark heart of Summerland.

Here in a land of scorched earth and endless rain, Ever and Damen will discover their relationship’s hidden origins, expose a secret history they never imagined…and come face to face with the true reason fate keeps tearing them apart. Only then, when the final mystery is unraveled and the last secret revealed, Ever and Damen’s future will hinge on one ultimate decision that will put everything at stake… even eternity.

I have honestly really loved this whole series. I love the world Noel has created and the characters that are finding their way through it. It will be sad to see this series go, but I am waiting with baited breath to know how it will all end.

Release Date: June 7, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (16)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in January, 1996.

This was a silly installment in the Fear Street series. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, more than usual I thought. But they all had their own personalities and styles, which I totally appreciated. Holly was successfully portrayed as the annoying girlie she was supposed to be, and I admit I took Ruth's side most of the time when it came to listening to Holly's gossip. I never really liked Miriam either, as the main character telling the story, perhaps because I felt like she was weak when it came to dealing with what was happening around her. The ending was worth it though, an honest surprise twist that I did not see coming!

Fear Rating: 1 out of 3 Screams

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson

From the very first moment Evie meets Rajas and Jacinda, their friendship is easy and natural. She finds a fast friendship in Jacinda and is instantly attracted to Rajas. Or so she thought, anyway. When Evie starts her Senior year at the same public school, things spin quickly out of control. Evie is outraged at the injustice students have to endure in their public education and speaks out against it, all with Jacinda and Rajas help. Her plan goes well and soon takes on a life of it's own. But Evie quickly learns to be careful what she wishes for, as lightning can strike anywhere.

This book was all right. There were lots of things I liked about it, including the fact that Evie was a seriously tough and courageous girl. She's boyish and outdoorsy, but also maintains her girlish side, the one that loves her best friend and is interested in kissing cute boys. I also really liked the quotes at the beginning of the chapters. Often times quotes like these can be cheesy and overlooked, but Johnson chose wisely and I found myself taking a moment to revel in the quotes before moving on. Johnson has an easy writing style and gives Evie a very upfront voice. There is no flowery language, no superfluous descriptions. On the other hand, however, I sometimes thought Evie was entirely too smart for her age and experience. She is almost annoyingly set on knowing she is right. At times, her actions felt a little far-fetched. If readers can get past that, there are plenty of current pop-culture references to keep the book in the present. And of course, a fantastic happy ending.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 4/13/11

CORSETS & CLOCKWORK edited by Trisha Telep

Dark, urban fantasies come to life in the newest collection of Steampunk stories, Corsets & Clockwork
. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements. Throw in epic romances that transcend time, and this trendy, engrossing anthology is sure to become another hit for the fast-growing Steampunk genre!

This collection features some of the hottest writers in the teen genre, including: Ann Aguirre, Jaclyn Dolamore, Tessa Gratton, Frewin Jones, Caitlin Kittredge, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Dru Pagliassotti, Dia Reeves, Michael Scott, Maria V. Snyder, Tiffany Trent, and Kiersten White.

I have totally enjoyed the previous themed story collections edited by Telep, and this sounds as though it might be the best yet. That line-up of authors makes my heart pound. Check it out!

Release Date: April 26, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Azalea is the oldest of twelve daughters of the King, which means it will soon be time for her to choose a mate and future King. But when her mother passes away, the palace goes into mourning for a full year, and all balls and parties cease. For Azalea and her sisters, this is the worst possible thing that can happen, as dancing is the only thing that can keep their spirits alive. Then Azalea discovers a hidden forest within the palace, that is run by a handsome gentleman who calls himself The Keeper. Here, the princesses can dance to their heart's content. As time goes on, however, Azalea begins to notice a more sinister side to Keeper. With her life spinning out of control, Azalea must find the courage in herself to do the right thing.

Entwined is a beautiful book, plain and simple. I couldn't stop myself from falling deeply into the lush atmosphere. The language and writing style was soft with details but rich with colors. Heather Dixon was brilliant in her descriptions of the hidden forest, with some imagery sure to linger in the minds of readers long after the book is finished. Azalea was a tremendously powerful character, with her thoughts and actions completely justified and intelligent. The King was also written very well, and I was pleased to see him prominently penned into the plot. This book was not only a fabulous retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but it was also a tender story of a father struggling to care for his daughters. And I LOVED the delicate addition of magic throughout. At over 450 pages, this read felt quick. I personally could not put it down for anything, except maybe to Google a few of the dances listed inside. Especially the romantic Entwine! Heather Dixon instantly became a favorite author, and I look forward to reading more from her!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

From the very moment Meredith Willis meets the new guy Adrien St. Germain at school, she is repulsed by him. He wears dark sunglasses all the time and she sees hidden, sinister things whenever he is near. Her sister Heather, however, is a different story. It seems Adrien has inexplicably picked her out of the crowd and chosen her to be his girl. Which also includes trying out for the school play, where Heather is Juliet, and Adrien is picked to be Romeo. But Meredith is set on finding out exactly who this new guy is, even if it means risking her life.

This was an interesting book, to say the least. The zombie element was cool. It was quite gory and horrific in some places, not for the weak stomached readers out there. I thought the fact that the zombies could communicate and had a hierarchy made them fit into vampire lore more than the walking dead. But the characters were complete, and all of them were amusing. The point of view switching between Meredith, Heather, and Adrien pulled the story along more quickly than if it were just one narrator. The romance was sweet, the horror was spooky. With a twist ending readers won't see coming, The Cellar is a fun read!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 4/6/11


Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

*droool* Love those mer-folk books! Keep them coming please! And what a stunning cover, with the purple scales and tattoo. I admit the plot sounds a little cheesier than usual, but I am still completely looking forward to this book.

Release Date: May 10, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb by George Rabasa

Adam is one of those boys people will look at and exclaim that he is too smart for his own good. After spending time in and out of a mental institution for improper behavior, he is finally home again. At eighteen, hopefully this time he will be able to adhere to the standards of those around him. Then, in an abrupt twist of fate, he meets a girl who calls herself Miss Entropia, and who is much more troubled than he is. Pia is unlike anybody Adam has ever met before, and he is instantly smitten. And when Adams goes out of his way to be with Pia, things begin to spin terribly out of control.

This book was just okay, if not a little disturbing. The writing style was very conversational, which was hard to get used to at first, but as the story picked up, it faded into the background and flowed completely. Adam's voice was raw and unapologetic, and was sometimes so gently innocent that it made for a very funny scene. The real pleasure, however, was whenever Pia entered the story. That girl was seriously crazy! It was scary and adorable to watch Adam and Pia fumble together through their adventure. Another character I really enjoyed was Adam's hyper-religious cousin Iris, though it felt as if George Rabasa wanted to do more with her story and simply could not find any excuse to include it in the book. At the end, I couldn't help but feel unsatisfied, almost as though the journey had all been for nothing.

I would be curious to know what others out there who have read this book thought of it!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

As a sophomore at a new school (she was a freshman there too), April Bowers is tragically not cool. Not nearly as cool as Brittany Taylor, the most popular and prettiest girl in the whole school. So when Brittany turns her attention to April, she is more than just thrilled. But April's best friend Haley warns her that Brittany is a lot meaner than she seems, a message that April ignores until it's too late. Being shunned from the Lipstick Lawlords stings, but with the help of a few others like her, April develops a plan for revenge.

It's a good thing this book was short, because I am not sure I could have stomached the plot any longer. Besides being gaggingly cliched, the shallow characters made my eyes roll. Even as the underdog, I didn't see any reason to root for April. Sure there are terrible girls in high school, but Brittany is extraordinarily mean. And I'm not entirely convinced April fully learned her main character lesson. The dialog had been done before and was predictable. The one cute bit was that April had dreams related to what was going on in her life, and they were genuinely funny. For girl readers out there looking for a breezy spring break book without much depth, this is a good one for you. However, if you expect a little more from your reads, I would pass.

Overall Rating: 2 Stars