Friday, March 30, 2012

Bound by Book-To-Movie Law: One Day

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.

The book was a DNF for me. Could not get into it no what I tried. The movie was a DNF as well. How could a premise with such promise fail in both mediums?!? I think my issue with the book was that it jumped right in to the story with no starting point, no place to introduce the characters or get comfortable with them. It was unreadable and felt much too unfocused for me to get very far at all.

When the movie came out and the trailer was shown I thought Ah-Ha! Film would be a much better way to show the friendship of two individuals progress over a long period of time. But no. Anne Hathaway is tortuous to watch fumble about in terrible costumes meant to represent the various years. And the guy who played Dex was neither attractive nor delightful to watch either. So I guess it turned out that one day of talking/meeting up with each other really didn't translate well to film. I think there were just too many disconnects for me to enjoy this story.

Bottom Line: The movie was easier to watch than the book was to read, but I would pass on both and find something much more interesting to watch/read.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 3/28/12

FATED by Alyson Noel

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

I loved Alyson Noel's Immortal series. It had just the right mix of real life teen drama and paranormal world-building. The series ended at five books, which was the perfect length. The cover for this first book in her new series is a little cheesy, but I will absolutely give it a shot. Here's to hoping it is a good as Ever and Damen!

Release Date: May 22, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly

I was unsure about starting in on this next installment in the Angel Burn series. The first book was more enjoyable than I had originally anticipated, as can be seen in my review. But something was keeping me from getting excited about this next book. Perhaps it was the over-exposure to angel paranormals. Regardless of the reason, when I finally picked it up, the story performed better than I expected.

The action in chapter one picks up right where the first book leaves off, which is always appreciated by me. There's no better way to start a sequel than with action directly after the first book. no lazy daisy taking your time getting back into the story! In fact, the action was better overall in this book than in the first. Action can go such a long way in the reader's pleasure! I liked that there was so much fighting and gun-shooting action. I still love the way angels are evil in this series.

The characters were just so-so. Willow was fine, with her complex relationship with her two selves. I honestly wanted to see more of her struggle, instead of her just pushing her angel side down. Alex was a bore, being way too over-dramatic one moment, and then being for too submissive in the next. The introduction of Seb was a saving point, as the conflict he brought to both Alex and Willow was intense. I would have to agree with Willow that the choice is tricky.

There is supposed to be on more book to round out this trilogy, and though I hesitate to get excited about it, I know I will pick it up to see the fate of these characters.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, March 23, 2012

Books That Broke Me

Every now and then there comes along a book that has a piece to it that is so powerful in and of itself, that it "ruins" me for life. Does anyone else out there know what I am talking about? Check out a few of the books that have broken me.
Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire.
This book opens with a horrible scene that turns the main character, Toby, into a Koi fish. She lives 14 years as this fish, until she is awakened and turned back to her normal self. I absolutely love the October Daye series, but this little gem has really stuck in my brain. I've had dreams about koi with human faces. I can't walk by those little fish ponds people have in their front yards without wondering how many of the poor fishies inside were once human. It's creepy.

Wither by Lauren Destefano.
With this book it wasn't the story that was powerful, so much as the cover. That dress is GORGEOUS. I can't get it out of my head. It looks wispy like bird feathers. Victorian with the corset top. So I went on a search for a matching dress for me. Couldn't find one exactly so perfect, but a little over a year ago I found a dress that was so close in color and style that I knew I had to have it. Now if only I could get the hair...

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund.
This one can be blamed for changing my view of unicorns. Seriously. They are vicious, mean creatures. Not the gentle, calm, peaceful type we have been taught to believe. I loved Diana's take on the mythical beasts, and have ever since.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.
Besides this middle-grade fantasy series being one of the best EVER, there exists a concealing spell. A brilliant concept. A great excuse. I use the concealing spell excuse whenever I walk into a room and completely forget what I went in there to do. Makes sense, right? Thanks, Brandon Mull!

What are some of the books that broke you?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 3/21/12

THE DROWNED CITIES by Paolo Bacigalupi

In this exhilarating companion to Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi brilliantly captures a dark future America that has devolved into unending civil wars, driven by demagogues who recruit children to become soulless killing machines. Two refugees of these wars, Mahlia and Mouse, are known as "war maggots": survivors who have barely managed to escape the unspeakable violence plaguing the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities. But their fragile safety is threatened when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool, who is hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Mahlia is faced with an impossible decision: risk everything to save the boy who once saved her, or flee to her own safety.

I put off reading the first book, Shipbreaker, for the longest time. Can't really explain why. But then I picked it up and it blew my mind completely. I am hooked. I am sold on the awesome author that is Bacigalupi. I am frothing at the mouth for this next book. Need I say more?

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inspired to Art (4)

Tom Angleberger's Origami Yoda books are not only brilliant, but they are also funny, smooth, and flawless. I loved them when I read them, and have bought a set for two other important people in my life. One such person was Owen, who also loved the books (well how could you not?!?). We were inspired to make our own Origami Yoda, following Tom's clever instructions in the back of the first book. We cracked each other up all day making the voice and listening to Origami Yoda's sage advice.

Then in the second book, there was an even more clever Star Wars game that can be played with paper. This game I wanted to play with the other important person in my life, as we are both longtime Star Wars and game-playing fans. I had never heard of the "flick-pen" method of playing a game, but it was utterly awesome. And so fun! Check out our game board. I was the Dark Side with TIE fighters, and he was the Rebel Alliance. There is no doubt who is the better artist here, but when it came down to one ship each, I was the victor!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fear Street Flashback (26)

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

Originally released in July, 1991.

Here's one of those rare Fear Street stories that seems off somehow. The premise is simple enough - someone going around doing terrible things at a sleep-away camp in the woods. And yet something felt different here. The girls being counselors at camp was great, especially with Uncle Bill and the conflict between Holly and Geri. Loved the red feather clues. Perhaps it was that the counselors didn't seem to be much older than the kids. Holly was totally unprepared and Debra was way more mean than she had to be. One thing I will say I really liked about this story was the ending. A total surprise. Not who you'd think at all! Oh, and I like the cover. The colors flow well together, and Holly totally has my style (jeans and hoodie). So while I do think this is one of the weaker-written books, I did enjoy the story.

Fear Rating: 2 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 3/14/12

WRECKED by Anna Davies

Secrets of the sea have never been sexier than this. Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control.

But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims—and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm.

YUM! A super sexy mermaid adventure! I seriously can't get enough of these undersea tales, folks. Mysterious, chisel-chested boy meets troubled girl in late night swims. Sign. Me. Up.

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits

It sounds cliche to say that a book hooks you with it's first sentence, but in this case it couldn't be more true. I actually whispered the word "wow" when I finished the intro.

Though this is a beautiful, engaging book, it is also quite complicated. I totally loved the idea of the psychic attacks that Julie is subjected to and doles out. The language and writing is superior to so many other books I have read lately. Julie's voice was so pitch-perfect. I found myself looking up to her perfectly witty and punchy responses. Madame Ackerman was spellbinding, and I wanted to see more of her. I wanted to know her back story! Spin-off book, perhaps?

Still, there were a few places where I struggled. There are no chapters in the book, just four section breaks. This made the book feel both too open and far to closed, all at the same time. There were clear markers where chapters could have been broken down. The four sections were different enough, but I often find it difficult to read books without chapters. If I step away for any longer period of time, it is very difficult to get back into the flow of things. If you pick this book up, be sure to give it your undivided attention, and you will be rewarded with a story that will stick in your brain for many months to come.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fictional Recipes (2)

This next recipe is brought to you from a cute little book called Love on the Lifts, by Rachel Hawthorne.

The recipe on the back cover is for HOT COCOA, a substance I am terribly addicted to. Seriously, I drink a cup or two every day, usually the instant packets from the grocery store. Making cocoa from scratch seemed like a little more work than I was willing to do daily, but I did want to try it at least once. This is what it looked like.
Not a bad recipe, but a little thin, and tasted too much like sugar, not enough like chocolate. A little like the book, come to think of it. The story was overly sweet in places, without much real substance to hold it up. Still, was neat to make cocoa from scratch. I would recommend trying it at least once!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 3/7/12

OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks

Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

Ooh... a pseudo-mermaid story. I'll bite! Love the ghostly cover, and the paranormal element of communicating with fish sounds great! Plus, the romance sounds so tantalizing. I will be sure to put this one at the top of my reading pile!

Release Date: May 22, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Study Of Covers

When it comes to designing book covers, the case of the Poison Study Trilogy has always interested me. This is a trilogy of three books that has undergone three different cover design treatments. Not just a different cover for the hardcover and paperback versions, mind you. Not a different design treatment from different publishers, either. I think in this case, it comes down to marketing. Let's take a look.

When the series was first published with Luna (Harlequin imprint), they were hardcover and looked like this.

So pretty, no? I personally loved the HC Poison Study, and picked it up at the Grove B&N without knowing anything about it. Such a yummy book! These covers are composed for the older female fantasy reader. The Yelena on the front looks distinguished and proper, fierce and tough. The ambiguous relics in the backgrounds are more vague in their use of design, but the stone walls make the atmosphere feel cold. I can't see many YA or romance readers picking up these books. But then came these.
Absolutely stunning! Especially when lined up side-by-side like this. These covers were beautiful and had much to lend to the atmosphere of the books. These paperbacks are from Mira (also a Harlequin imprint) and the third book, Fire Study was going to come out only in this form. I desperately wanted my copies to match each other on my shelf, so I went out and bought them again. Buying them again didn't bug me nearly as much as waiting twice as long for the third and last book to be released! But this art and design is much more romantic than the HC versions above. I think Mira probably picked up three times as many readers with this new artwork, simply due to the warmer feel to them. The romance in the series is present, for sure, but not nearly as much as the fantasy elements are. All in all, I think this was a great direction to take the covers and was pleased as punch to own a full set.

The publisher, however, wasn't done yet.

These two versions were released under the Harlequin Teen imprint, as especially pronounced with the younger girl face on the covers. I have no idea how these sold, but judging by the lack of third book, I am guessing not very well. The teen-crossover appeal is strong, but these covers are so bland and ambiguous. Very boring. I would quickly pass over these to pick up the much more alluring covers above.

Regardless, it's an awful lot of attention for one publisher to put into the covers of a trilogy of books. What are your thoughts?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

With all of the dystopian, post-apocalyptic literature I've been reading lately, I was beginning to think the stories were all blending together. I was starting to think that the genre may be coming to it's fill-line. Then Under the Never Sky comes along and rocks my world.

Peregrine and Aria are two of the most interesting characters I have read so far this year. Peregrine alone had many layers to his personality, all of them interesting. Aria is so brave and able to overcome what is thrown at her, from information to fights. Perry is a strong male with a very sensitive side. Won't give away too much, but I found myself really enjoying the tribal aspect to the Outside world. The Aether storms kind of felt like a minor character themselves, too. It's both scary and neat to think of weather that is so unlike our own.

Veronica Rossi's choice to alternate chapters between the two was brilliant. It gives the reader ample time to be inside both Perry an Aria's heads. This was particularly good for me, as both character were suffering from fish-out-of-water syndrome and to see the new land through their eyes was breath-taking and shocking. There was the perfect balance between down time and action scenes. I must say that while I was enjoying the way this story was wrapping up at the end, it also left a huge question to answer in the next one! Must read the next book!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars