Monday, May 30, 2011
What an incredible book. I cannot start a review without first mentioning the language. Blood Red Road is written unlike any other book I have ever read. The language is plain: uneducated and simple. Yet it is very powerful and lyrical. I got the sense that every word was placed very purposefully, so that no sentence was wasted. Saba is a great character and I instantly fell in love with her. As well as with Nero, her pet crow. He was SO cool! Even with the girl on the cover and the love interest between Saba and Jack, this book has more than plenty for the male readers out there, too. The action is high-octane, with cage fights and air ships and renegade gangs. The scenes flowed smartly, with lots to keep the pages turning, but plenty of little breaks for readers to pause and catch their breath. An extremely well-thought out and well-written debut!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Friday, May 27, 2011
Belladonna is not an easy book to read, but a rather rewarding one if you do. I will tell you up front that from the cover and synopsis, I was totally expecting (and hoping!) to get a circus story. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. However, though it is not my desired circus show, this novel was very rich with the atmosphere of mid-eighteenth century life. Ling is a fabulous character, and wise beyond her years. She felt both like the girl-next-door and exotic at the same time. By comparison, Tom was bland and uninteresting. The writing is a little dry and difficult to plow through for the average YA reader, but for those who stick with it, Mary Finn delivers a delightful gem of a tale.
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Thursday, May 26, 2011
To clarify upfront, this was not a major movie release. It was a small-time, made-for-tv movie that aired a few times as a Lifetime Network Original in 2005. If this makes you groan, hold your judgement until you see it yourself (the movie is readily available in twelve parts on YouTube). I thought it was a very good movie, and a great adaptation of the book. Which, by the way, is one of my all time very favorites books I love to death. Anyway, if you didn't catch this movie on Lifetime, check it out on YouTube. Which is what I recently did. And it did not disappoint. Michelle Trachtenberg did very well as Carrie Bell- hitting her high points, but always keeping with a sadness to her, as though she is always missing her life from before. Kilroy (Sean Maher) was downright dreamy and BOY did that guy look good during those kissing scenes! Overall, I found this to be a very honest take on the book, and I do not think any reader or fan would be disappointed with the final result.
Bottom Line: The movie is TOP NOTCH, but not a full replacement for the book.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
SWEETLY by Jackson Pearce
As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch-like monster in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.
When their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out as teens, they stumble upon a sleepy Southern town and are invited to stay with Sophia Kelly at her sweet shop. Sophia molds candied magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel finally start to forget their haunted past - until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel, who gives Gretchen a reason to fear Sophia: girls have been vanishing at Sophia's annual chocolate festival, taken by the insatiable 'witch' of Gretchen's nightmares. Can Gretchen save herself, the girls of Live Oak, and Sophia?
Of one thing, Gretchen is certain: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.Ever since I read Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red, I have been salivating for more. Her re-telling of Red Riding Hood was fresh and edgy. Can't wait to check out her update on Hansel and Gretel!
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Entangled was very well written. I felt claustrophobic and trapped in the room with Grace's memories. This book gave me some seriously weird dreams. Probably thanks to Grace feeling so crazy and confused. Ethan was such an intriguing character, and I totally could not get enough of him. Grace's friends Nat and Sal seemed too hot and cold for me. I wanted to yell at Grace some moments, and wish I could be as lucky as her in other moments. And I liked being able to guess along the way as to what was really happening. Even though readers may think they guess correctly, the final chapter is a whirlwind climax no one could turn away from. I cannot wait for Cat Clarke's next book!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Friday, May 20, 2011
Originally released in May, 1995.
This is an awesome Fear Street book. Perhaps because the narrator is first person, and Nicole is quite the storyteller. There is also non-stop action from pretty much the second chapter on, which keeps the book moving at a break-neck speed. It is pretty obvious to the reader what is happening to poor Nicole, but that doesn't change the suspense. It is still scary to watch Nicole go through the motions of what she is believing to be true in her own head. My only complaint would be that it was annoying to me when Nicole would discover gruesome sights and not tell anybody about them. But that was just normal for her character, which was well fleshed out. And the ending is completely worth it, as one last little jab into the reader's head. A very good story, and a perfect addition to the Fear Street drama.
Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.This book sounds like it will be really sad. But also really powerful, with the pages haunting me after I finish the book. I am looking forward to trying out this new author!
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
It is a good thing this book was short, because I do not know how much more celebrity/rich girl/horse drama I could stand. The world of priviledged girls showing horses is not an easy one to get into, but authors Hapka and Bloomberg try to share of glimpse of what it is like. A lot of times, the barn seemed like a fun place to be. Girls who have horses or like horses should fall into the story fairly easily. Girls who are not as familiar with the equine language and protocol may feel lost throughout most of the scenes. Kate was by far the most interesting character, as I thought she was the one who had the most layers and motivation around her. Even so, there were many bits of the story and characters that were left unfinished and felt very shallow. Especially with Kate's mom and all of the eye rolling the girls did. Readers may get frustrated with the lack of focus on these elements. Though it was not my cup of tea, Georgina Bloomberg is knows about showing horses, and her expertise shines through in this debut.
Overall Rating: 2 Stars
Friday, May 13, 2011
This book was AWESOME. I wanted to sit and soak up all of the Coney Island history, stories, and lore. I wanted to Google references as soon as I read about them. I loved all of the Coney Island history that is woven so tightly into the story. The atmosphere was rich with the salty sea air and sights and sounds Coney Island brings to it's visitors. Jane was a well-fleshed out character and a perfect choice to narrate the reader through the happenings of her experiences. The Tattooed Boy is totally romantic, and Jane's small friend Babette is honest and cute. There are a ton of "freaks" and "carnies" in this book, and Tara Altebrando is sensitive with her material while being unapologetic at the same time. I imagine many readers will want to visit the actual Coney Island after reading about the Dreamland Social Club. I have not read Tara's other two books, but I am interested in picking them up after reading this one, for sure!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Thursday, May 12, 2011
My Boyfriend is a Monster #1 - I Love Him to Pieces - was an absolutely adorable story. I loved the role reversal of Dicey being the uber jock and Jack being the bookworm nerd. Evonne Tsang writes some super cute and often very funny dialog. And this first book does a fantastic job of setting up the world. Clues are given to the reader and the characters at the same time, creating the perfect blend of suspense, action, and tenderness.
My Boyfriend is a Monster #2 - Made For Each Other - takes another classic monster and pulls it into a teenage love story. Frankenstein doesn't sound like he could be attractive, but Paul Storrie writes a totally loveable boy in Tom. He and Maria make a great couple, even around the boundaries that dating a monster involves. Of the two stories, I did not think this one was as strong as the first book, though.
The art is simple black and white drawings, but I thought this worked well for the age range and content matter. There were a few places in both books where the art became crowded and muddy, but for the most part the illustrations were successful in fleshing out the scenes.
So if you're a fan of monsters (and even if you aren't), give this series a try. The stories are short and sweet and will leave you smiling.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Magic dies with the mage, or so the Darkborn believe. That's why Lady Telmaine Hearne has been condemned to death for sorcery. She's escaped but is now bound with her mageborn allies for the Borders and war. Meanwhile, her husband, Balthasar, has learned of his family connection to the Shadowborn-and is fighting for survival and sanity as magic turns him against everything he holds dear.
Not much of a synopsis available, but anyone who has read the first two in this series will know this book is destined to hold great things! I feel the Darkborn trilogy has really been under-appreciated by the media. It's a terrific series, with great writing and an awesome premise!
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
How Mary Connealy managed to write an opening that was even better than all of her other book beginnings, I will never know. But she did it. Seriously. Best. Opening. EVER. This book was great. Gabe and Shannon's dialogue is so snarky and yet never waivers from being tender too. It is obvious to any reader that Connealy loves writing about landscapes and nature just as much as she loves writing strong women and tough cowboys. Her descriptions of the Grand Canyon are never long, but the detail she does provide clearly illustrate the beauty and awe the land inspires. She same goes for her characters. Small snipets like "the man spoke through a mustache so bushy his mouth didn't appear to move" are perfect examples of how one little detail can really cement an image in the readers mind. As always, I am looking forward to her next book!
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Friday, May 6, 2011
This book shocked me, mostly with it's content. Be warned: there are a lot of drug and sex scenes in this book! Charlotte ultimately learns her lessons, but throughout most of the story she doesn't have many redeeming qualities. Readers will be able to identify with her insecurities as well as her parents going through a turbulent divorce. I found myself getting annoyed with her attitude and behavior, but I had to consider it was justified in a lot of places, based on her character. I liked how Alexa Martin fleshed out Charlotte's brother James Henry (great name!) and his friend Milton. Those two made me chuckle out loud! So even though it felt like the story took a little bit to ramp up, once the middle of the book hit, it was a climactic read until the last page.
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams. Visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.
Besides having an absolute stunning cover, this book sounds so interesting!I am usually disappointed by stories that take place in NYC's wealthy private schools, but I am definitely going to give this one a shot.
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
This book was not as good as I had hoped it would be. My feelings wavered pretty evenly back and forth between being entranced and being bored. It was neat to experience Mercy's thoughts and actions as she navigated through Carmen. I was sure there would be a lot of confusion, but Rebecca Lim kept her two beings straight. Both the main and secondary characters held a lot of depth, and Lim makes sure to let each one have their fifteen minutes. Mercy and Ryan get more time, naturally, but it was refreshing to hear the others get their chance to talk too. I found I was never truly gripped by the mystery aspect of the plot, so the characterization rounded out this reading experience. Fans of the angel paranormal trend will dive right into this book, but those looking to try it out may feel lost or confused by the added super power elements. As the first book in a series, Mercy has tons of potential!
Overall Rating: 3 Stars