Friday, September 30, 2011

Bound by Book-to-Movie Law: Something Borrowed

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.

I wanted to like this movie, because the book is one of my favorites (I've read it more than once!). But there was some seriously bad acting in this one that hindered my enjoyment. For real, can't they find better actors than Colin Egglesfield and Ginnifer Goodwin to play Dex and Rachel? Not only were they stiff and plain, but they didn't have any chemistry either. John Krasinski (from The Office) rocks the socks of this movie though, and made the character of Ethan into someone completely unlike how I imagined him to be in the book. He was cute and funny! not like Dex, who made me want to punch him. Kate Hudson was the perfect Darcy, playing from the original book quite well. Spotting author Emily Giffin, reading the book sequel on a bench in the park, was pretty silly, but I like that authors are getting the chance to cameo in their movies. It would be great if they made a movie out of Something Blue, if only to see how the actors do further along down the story road.

Bottom Line: I thought the movie was sweet and silly, but I am going to have to pick the book for this one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/28/11


Monday, September 26, 2011

The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman

Judy McFarland is a long-time teacher at the Waldorf school in Sylvania, Maryland, but lately her life has been pretty unhappy. Her husband doesn't have time for her, her children are distant and detached, and her closest friend and confidante recently passed away. So despite knowing that its wrong, when the opportunity to hook up with one of the older students at the school arises, she takes it. Zach is sixteen, with one foot firmly in adulthood and the other clinging to his youth. Being with Judy is intoxicating for him at first, but quickly turns sour as the pressure mounts to keep their affair a secret. And as the situation goes south, elements of Judy's dark past begin to come to the surface.

Be prepared to give this book some time - you will not want to put it down. I got sucked into this story from the very first chapter and could not let go. I was so taken with Rebecca Coleman that I went out and bought Coleman's first book, Desperado City, when I was barely half way through reading this one! I think the story of student and teacher will always carry some allure, whether it is from pure fantasy or full scandal. And indeed, some parts of this book made me feel ill, even when I knew there was no way I could turn away and stop reading. It was curious to see how Coleman switches from chapters from Judy's POV in the beginning, to weening towards chapters heavy on Zach's POV in the end. This worked out quite well, because by the time I was done judging Judy on her actions, I wanted to know more about how Zach was doing. Plus, I liked being kept in the dark about Judy, getting little pieces of her life deliberately revealed to me with painstaking care. I know that it will be a book that sticks with me in my thoughts for months to come.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

"I know that most schools have rivalries with other schools, but that's not how it worked at Hamilton High." So says Lissa, who knows first hand how it works. The football and soccer teams have a long-running feud and she is dating Randy, the star quarterback. When the fighting begins to take time away from their relationship and turn ugly, kids get hurt. So Lissa calls all of the girlfriends into a plan of action - a sexual shut out. This might just work, too... if only Lissa could erase the memory of hot soccer player Cash Sterling.

I just love it when I read books that inspire me to read other books. It happens rarely, but was definitely the case with Shut Out. I dare you to read this book without wanting to read Atonement and Lysistrata afterwards! Readers will be rooting for the girls and their plan, not to mention Cash. He is seriously dreamy! By comparison I thought Lissa was a little high-strung. She really was no fun sometimes. And after the major twist in the middle of the book, I felt betrayed by her, as she was my guide through this story. All in all, this was a great second effort by Kody Keplinger. I was enamored with her after reading the DUFF, and was totally looking forward to reading more by her. Even with the soft plot and uneven characters, Shut Out had my full and complete attention until the end. Please give us more, Kody!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/21/11

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. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, 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.

It's always a curious thing when angels mix with mermaids, but why not? This story sounds like it will have so many good things in it, and a fabulous love story to boot. I am looking forward to it!

Release Date: October 25, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

Three women struggle to keep their family and sanity together when all they want to do is fall apart. Holly joins a writing group as a way to escape her rebelling daughter and a husband who is no longer fulfilling her needs. Marissa is dealing with a gay son, a daughter requiring extreme special care, and a husband who distances himself more with each passing day. Andrea is a single mother with not much on her plate except loneliness and watching her daughter Harley grow up too fast, but when her best friend's husband presents an alluring opportunity, she takes it. Whether they are family or friends, these women experience their lives shatter in both similar and different ways, and pull from themselves and each other as life continues to move on.

Whoo boy. Be warned: emotions run high in this book! Though the constant onslaught on heavy emotions weren't always happy, they did an amazing job in building desires and actions for the characters. With unhappiness running so rampant, the women will have a wide appeal to readers. The misery and longing to escape will resonate with audiences from all backgrounds, even if the situations do not. I typically stay far away from novels written in verse, but was strangely drawn to this book. Perhaps because it is a well-known YA writer's first venture into adult fiction. Whatever it was that made me pick up this book, I am very glad I did. There was a staggering amount of stunning beauty in the simple poems at the end of the chapters. And the sheer emotion almost tipped me over the edge a few times. I barely paused to look up from this book while reading it, and will definitely be picking up more from Ellen Hopkins.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (21)

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

Originally released in April, 1994.

This little addition to the Fear Street series was instantly one of my favorites. It was funny, not too spooky, and best of all, it was CLEVER. Bobby Newkirk is written way over the top as the all-knowing, conceited jerk. Which probably makes this a great book for teen girls with revenge-against-their-ex-boyfriends fantasies. Bree and Samantha Wade were total rock stars, with the tricks they pulled. And although I wasn't not sure what would happen until the very end, I knew it was going to be something big. What was also surprising about this title was how modern and simple the story was. There was no need to add chilly past history about creepy Fear Street characters. The Wade Twins had it covered themselves. I love this little Fear Street book!

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/14/11

FROST by Wendy Delsol

After the drama of finding out that she’s a Stork, a member of an ancient and mystical order of women, and that her boyfriend, Jack, is a descendent of the Winter People able to control the weather, Katla Leblanc is delighted when all signs point to a busy and peaceful Christmas. That is, until the snowstorm Jack summons as a gift to Katla turns into the storm of the century, attracting Brigid, a gorgeous scientist who, in turn, attracts Jack. Between the school play, a bedridden, pregnant mother’s to-do lists, and keeping an eye on her aging grandfather, Katla doesn’t have time to question Brigid’s motives or deal with Jack’s increasingly cold behavior. But Katla’s suspicions mount when Jack joins Brigid on a research expedition to Greenland, and when the two of them go missing, it becomes clear that Katla is the only one who can save her beloved Jack from the Snow Queen who holds him prisoner. Adventure, romance, and myth combine in this winter escapade for teens who like a bit of fire with their ice.

The first book Stork surprised me with it's very contemporary imagining of the stock mythos. It was pretty cool to think of an actual being deciding who gets to be pregnant. This follow-up sounds like it will be just as good!

Release Date: October 11, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Kieran and Waverly are the oldest children aboard the Empyrean, a ship bound for New Earth. Naturally, this makes them perfect for each other, and they have been a couple for as long as they can remember. But then another ship, the New Horizon, arrives unannounced, and splits Kieran and Waverly up. Waverly is taken aboard the New Horizon, where a corrupt woman foists her beliefs upon her crew. Kieran is left behind to clean up the mess on the Empyrean and compete with Seth, another boy with a large chip on his shoulder. They may be light years apart, but Kieran and Waverly need to find the strength within themselves to fight their way back to each other.

Ooh, this book was good. Right up there with Across the Universe and Inside Out good. And tense! The action was literally non-stop, keeping me glued to the pages and biting my nails. I was surprised by how much I could identify with both Kieran and Waverly's suffering. I thought for sure one story would be more interesting than the other, but it really wasn't the case at all. I was also impressed by the science that was rampant throughout the story. Sometimes it can be frustrating not to be given a little of the science behind what is happening, but Amy Kathleen Ryan steps up with spaceship technology without talking down to her reader. The same goes for twists and turns in the plot. Waverly and Kieran are both very trusting people, but at the same time seem to know exactly when they shouldn't trust someone. And though there's not a cliffhanger ending, readers will be left gasping for more!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

When a catastrophic event hits Earth and millions of people disappear without a trace, it seems the Rapture is more than a rumor. For those left behind, life is a struggle to rebuild. There's Kevin, a husband who's wife left him to join a silent cult movement with no clear purpose, and whose daughter is getting more distant by the day. There's Thomas, who drops out of college to follow religious cult leader Holy Wayne, until the day a mysterious girl shows up his doorstep. And there's Nora, who is just trying to find her way in a world of grief completely unfamiliar to her. As life moves on for these people and those around them, their paths cross in significantly small ways.

I consider myself to be a fan of Tom Perrotta. After reading Joe College while actually in college, I was bitten by the Perrotta bug and have been an avid reader and follower of him ever since. It seemed every book since that first taste has gotten better and better. This newest, however, left me feeling a little lost. Some parts were absolutely amazing and had all the qualities of great writing and deep characterization that I love about Perrotta. But the book never moved along at a steady pace, and each chapter needed too many pages to ramp up to the story for me to really feel like I was constantly involved. I did like how the individual stories subtly intersected with each other with little details that weren't quite made apparent until the next chapter. Perrotta obviously took great care to plot out the lives and happenings of these characters to make sure the plot was believable. The Leftovers was still a great read, but I prefer Perrotta's other books over this one.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/7/11


Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

There are no words that could adequately describe my excitement for this title. The beautiful cover, the steampunk, the victorian, the zombies... EVERYTHING. It's like the publishers are trying their hardest to make a book JUST FOR ME. And I approve!

Release Date: October 18, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Ben is going through his mother's old belongings when a storm brews and lightning strikes the house. The force of the lightning goes through the phone he is holding against his ear, rendering him deaf. Instead of letting this setback in hearing bring him down, Ben decides that this is the perfect time for him to go to New York to try and find his father. Once there, he follows the tiny clues he has, until a chance encounter with a stranger from his past changes his life forever.

Selznick's first book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is all but a common sight in middle grade schools. I was a little late reading it, thinking that all of the hype was just that, but when I did finally read it, I was completely blown away. The beauty of the drawings and timing in the pictures, mixed with the fascinating story of a boy and clockwork things was enough to keep me glued to the book. Now with Selznick's second book, I was hoping lightning would strike twice. Unfortunately, while the drawings and timing still had that "tear-through-the-book" quality, the story wasn't as interesting for me. There is a breakneck speed at which the plot unfolds, but I never really felt invested in the characters enough to care about what was happening to them. Readers will be captivated by the silent action that unfolds for a magical reunion, but I am hoping Selznick's next book packs a little more punch.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dry As Rain by Gina Holmes

Eric and Kyra Yoshida are a recently separated couple when Kyra gets in a car accident and loses her memory. At first, Eric is hesitant to take care of Kyra, who does not seem to remember their marriage troubles. But then he realizes he has been given a rare second chance to make things right with his wife. With the constant possibility of Kyra's memory returning, however, Eric will need to reach deep within himself to reconcile their differences and make the wrongs he did right.

I loved Gina Holmes' first book Crossing Oceans, which made my heart swell and my eyes tear up. With Dry As Rain, I was excited to dive into another story of redemption and soul searching. Plus, it was interesting to read a male's perspective written by a woman author. It makes me wonder how close to this story the author really was. I thought Holmes wrote Eric in a rather rough manner, with the only soft edges being when it came to his wife. In fact, Eric does not seem to have many redeemable qualities at all and I felt myself pitying poor Kyra for staying with a total jerk. But perhaps that it what I like about reading Gina Holmes - she tells stories how they are, without apologizing for being ugly and unhappy. One thing is for sure: I will waiting with baited breath for her next book!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars