Saturday, 27 November 2010

In My Mailbox (47)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Again...the epic...

Alright, there IS a vlog, but blogger couldn't upload it after 12 hours and youtube said it's too bit. I'll keep trying...


For Review:

Gifted:

Bought:
Jane Austen's Little Advice Book

And sorry for the blog silence. You know how the holidays can be. *sigh*
--Julie

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
Dutton
[December 2, 2010]


Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?


I've put this review off for a long time.
Mostly because I had a ton of favorite parts I wanted to quote but I just never had the time to, essentially, reread my copy.

This book may be one of the most perfect books I've ever read. The dialogue was funny and I laughed several times. The characters were perfectly imperfect and the setting was beautiful.

I read this book the day I got it without stopping. I sat in my chair and read and read back in September. This was when the whole "I'm gonna do my homework AS SOON AS I GET HOME" thing was actually working so I could do things like that guilt-free. I think I might've stopped once to get more comfortable or to pee or something silly like that. Because...I HAD to know what was next. And the book wasn't that suspenseful...I just had to know.

St. Claire. You're all wondering about St. Claire, right? Well, he's the epitome of imperfect perfection. He had a girlfriend and he's short and he has other little flaws, but it made him human. St. Claire was realistic in a way that most guys in YA fiction aren't. Not every guy is tall and handsome and charming and gentleman-ly and very few sparkle. We all know that and yes it's nice to pretend there's as many perfect guys in the real world as their seem to be in fiction, but sometimes we need a real guy, yes?

The side characters totally helped make the story. They were funny and quirky and they didn't all love Anna right away. But I loved them, oh yes I did. And the girlfriend of St. Claire? It will take a LOT of strength to hate her when you first meet her. And this just ENHANCES THE AMAZING.

This book is simply amazing, a perfect fun read! If it's not already on your Holiday Wish list, it should be. Trust me. I'm so glad that Erin Lynn Jeffreys Hodges brought this one to my attention!

--Julie

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand


Illyria 
by Elizabeth Hand

Summary: Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other's first love. Even within their large, disorderly family—all descendants of a famous actress—their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous.

When they are cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together.

With this book, I think you'll either love it or hate it. For me, I think I’m going to go with loved it.

I adored the relationship between Maddy and Rogan. Don’t get me wrong, it was far from perfect and it wasn’t all mushy romance, there was just something there… this effortless chemistry and bond between the characters that shone through everything else and I love that. The relationship with Rogan and Maddy was what kept me turning the pages to be honest.

The fact that they were cousins and it was technically incest didn’t really register as an issue with me - maybe because they didn’t make it one; they acknowledged that they were cousins and that other people thought it was wrong and they sneaked around to be together like that… but it was never a big topic of conversation, they never really discussed it and trusted their feelings. They just made sense together. But, I am pretty open minded about the whole consensual incest thing, so if you’re not and you’re grossed out by the idea of it then maybe it’ll be more of an issue for you.

Another thing that didn't really register with me much was the time period that it was set in. I think it was set in the 70's and some little things stood out as being outdated but beyond that, I never really noticed it much which was odd.

The story itself was… weird. It was a really unique story, I’ve never read anything like it really but it almost felt like it didn’t have a plot. With most stories there is a clear beginning, middle and end - there’s usually a build up to some climax and with this book, it felt like it was lacking that.

It seemed more about the characters and their relationships than it was about the plot - it was like… reading someone’s life so there were no big plot twists or a dramatic climax or anything to keep you reading. Even the thing’s towards the end of the book didn’t read much like the build up to the end of a story; the whole thing just felt like stuff in the middle.

I don’t think I’m explaining that well - maybe if you read the book (or have already read it) then you’ll understand what I meant. Basically, it’s not one of those books where you’ll be anxiously/excitedly turning the pages to see what happens next; it’s just like you’re reading random moments that stand out in the lives of these strange characters.

Parts of the book seemed so... irrelevant, almost and I'm sure it had its purpose for being there but even by the end I just couldn't see it and it’s odd that there seemed to be so much of that stuff in the book because it was really short. Without the Rogan and Maddy relationship and even some of the oddness of their family, I probably would’ve given up reading the book pretty early on because of the randomness of it.

The writing of the book is good, but again, considering how short the book is, I think Elizabeth Hand went a bit OTT with some of the descriptions of things that we don't even really care about... I would've liked less focus on the scenery and more on the characters and their relationships because that was the strongest part of the book. The toy theatre seemed to be a key thing woven through the story and I didn’t like that at all - it had about one scene where I liked it, the rest of the time whenever I read about it my brain seemed to been stuck on its “WTF?” setting…

While there were things about the book that I wasn’t too sure about and I’m torn between loving them and hating them, the only thing I really hated for sure was the beginning. It just felt like this this big information dump on their family history and a lot of it didn't seem to be even important to the story or it could've been spread out evenly throughout the book. It was a bore getting through that part but it got better.

The end was… I guess you could say it was realistic. But I didn't like that... Although, I didn't entirely hate it either. It just wasn't really satisfying, it was a nice ending - bittersweet depending on how you wanted the book to end - it just gives you the slightest hint of closure but still leaves you wondering what happened next. That’s all I can really say without spoilers.

Like I said in the beginning, you'll probably either love or hate this book and I think I loved it. The characters were so real to me and although for a short book it had a lot of stuff that seemed irrelevant or pointless or totally random, I did enjoy some of it and there was a certain... quirkiness to the story that I liked a lot.

Would I recommend the book? Honestly, I don’t know - I loved it, so on one hand I would but at the same time I think you’ll just have to read the summary and see if it sounds like your kind of thing, if it grabs your interest.

Later.

P.s. How gorgeous is this cover?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Happy Birthday Julie...

So, it's my co-bloggers 16th birthday today. You should all tweet (@bloggersbooks) or comment nice things at her.

And this blog post seems horribly dull in comparison to Harmony's birthday video, so I'm hoping some GIF images will decrease the fail of it:


Dancing cat not enough? Okay then, Pride & Prejudice: The Deleted Scene (if the animation doesn't happen, click the picture/open it in a new tab) -


...Happy birthday Julie? o.O

And seeing as Harmony already got the blogger people to say birthday things at you, here are some MSN birthday wishes:

Julie, the day we met and created our mixed up family was a very happy day! NOT as happy as the day you were exumed from the womb because without that, we would not have had a happy make a family day! Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -- Batman
...Yeah, I'm not sure what she's smoking either but I think in Bat-talk that is something along the lines of "happy birthday, I approve of you and think you're awesome!"


You're pretty much the best co-blogger ever... seriously, the blog would be so much fail without you - and I just lost my train of thought cause someone IM'd me. Wait, it was YOU who IM'd me... damn it, Julie! Ruining your own birthday message. Now, where was I? Oh yes, you're an epic co-blogger (and I actually have had other co-bloggers, so you know I'm not just saying that cause you're the only one I've had). But more than that? You just pretty much win in general, I mean, you put up with my pointless rambling and ranting about nonsense on MSN and you're totally more mature than I am, even though I'm the older one. I'll stop now, but happy birthday. -- ...Me. o.O
Adam is taking too long to reply and other people aren't online right now, so... yes. I'll leave it at that for now. Did you have a good day? :)


Later.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

In My Mailbox (46)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Just...wow.

By Wednesday, I had 12 books. TWELVE. It's MADNESS I tell you, MADNESS!


For Review:

Bought:

Gifted:
Grave Doubts&Heaven Sent by Meg Cabot

Muchas Gracias to:
Lanna (you loon)
M at Random House
Random Buzzers
Kari Townsend
The AMAZING people at HarperTeen.

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Now to go get ahead on homework. Bleh

-Julie

Lanna jumping in:

Ohai, I have no self control. :)


(yeah, again, I just print screened my shelfari shelf...)

Bought:


Romeo & Juliet & Vampires by William Shakespeare and Claudia Gabel
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Ruined by Paula Morris 
My Immortal by Erin McCarthy
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler


I have got to stop buying new books. My TBR pile is insane... but like I said, no self control. I'm going to limit the books I'm allowed to buy in December (Anna & The French Kiss, Matched, The Mockingbirds, Last Sacrifice, Firelight, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove and The Fortune of Carmen Navarro - which does seem like a lot for a limited list, but I probably won't buy them all, I just mean... the only books I'm allowing myself to buy in December has to be from that list. Knowing me, I won't stick to that but whatever).


Also, Julie, you're welcome (the books I sent her were for her birthday - but really, I couldn't just send her one of the Mediator bind ups, they're UK bind ups and it'd suck if she only had one and the set didn't match... and the UK version of The Sky is Everywhere > the US cover).


Anyway... what'd you get this week?


Later.

2011 Debut Author Challenge

It's time to start the planning for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by The Story Siren!

The books I plan to review in 2011 for the challenge are gonna be listed below. Anything that's italicized means I got an ARC and I've read it (or will read it) in 2010 and therefore won't count towards the 12 I need.

1. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand 
2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis 
3. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal 
4. XVI by Julia Karr
5. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
6. Timeless by Alexandra Monir 
7.  Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
8. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
9. Clarity by Kim Harrington
10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
11. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
12. Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
13. The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky
14. Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
15. The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch 
16. Divergent by Veronica Roth
17. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
18. Kat, the Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
19. Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
20. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby


To Read: 

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
A Long, Long Sleep by Anne Sheehan
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Broken Wings by Helen Landalf
Countess Nobody by Lynn Bonasia
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Entwined by Heather Dixon (own)
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus (own)
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray (own)
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (own)
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter 
Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
Saving June by Hannah Harrington 
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini 
Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver (own)
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder (own)
Those That Wake by Jesse Karp 
Warped by Maurissa Guibord (own)
Wildefire by Karsten Knight 

 

I definitely have quite the year ahead of me!


--Julie

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Pulling Princes by Tyne O'Connell

Pulling Princes
Tyne O'Connell

When Calypso returns from Los Angeles to her English boarding school for the summer term, she is determined to fit in with the popular crowd. Her plan is to pretend her mother's gay assistant back home is her boyfriend. And to her surprise, the trick works...at least at first. She makes a whole batch of new friends, and even finds herself winning the unwritten contest to woo the prince at the boys' school next door. But one girl, Honey, undermines all her efforts. When Calypso and Prince Freddy end up in the tabloids and everything seems set to go down the drain, it's Calypso's parents and sense of humor that save her from utter humiliation.
 
A fast-paced, laugh-out-loud-funny look at fitting in while still standing out...

This book is exactly what it claims to be. And it's exactly what I need. 

This book is cute and light and kind of funny. It only took me a couple hours to read. And considering this week I've been REALLY stressed out, reading something so...chick-lit-y was very refreshing and relaxing. 

Calypso is pretty shallow throughout the novel, but never so much that I got annoyed or started to hate her. And she does have quite a bit of character growth throughout the novel. 

All the slang is a bit of an adjustment, but I imagine UK readers would have an easier time with it.

There's really not much for me to say about this book. For me, it was therapeutic. And though I had plans to start reading Harry Potter 7 to prep for the movie, I ended up picking up the sequel instead. And I intend to get my hands on the rest of the series as soon as possible.

Is this a literary masterpiece? No. But when you're stressed out and just need a light, simple read? Definitely a good choice.

--Julie

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

On Our Wishlist (8) - Lanna

On Our Wishlist is inspired by Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday.

There are an insane amount of books on my wishlist right now - I'll try and get ones that haven't been mentioned by me (or Julie) before:




Sharks and Boys by Kristen Tracy

It just sounds really unique and interesting. *shrugs*


Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts kind of put Megan McCafferty onto my favourite authors/instant read list but this book sounds fantastic anyway (but why, why can't she get covers that fully reflect her awesomeness? I mean, I don't hate this cover exactly - but it's kind of dull/bland, even if it is a bit on the unique side as far as the concept goes... Maybe it'll grow on me. Although I should've learned my lesson by now about judging books by their covers*, if this book wasn't by Megan McCafferty, chances are I wouldn't even read the summary of it without someone telling me to). 




Starcrossed (The Awakening #1)
by Josephine Angelini 

I may or may not have mentioned this one before, but if I did, I don't think a cover was included. But it sounds all kinds of epic and doesn't the cover totally bring the pretty?


The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is another one of my favourite authors/instant reads and this one is a companion to one of her books that I already love and apparently has cameos from characters from Jellicoe Road in it? Not sure. I've wanted this since I heard about it, it's already out in Australia but it's almost impossible to find somewhere to buy Australian books and get them shipped here... but I'm glad I didn't get it, because the US cover is so much more awesome (just in case my cover-whore tendencies weren't blatantly obvious already).
 




Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Not sure why I want to read this one, I don't remember being hooked by the summary... I think it's a case of cover/title love.


The Demon Trapper's Daughter (Demon Trappers #1) by Jana Oliver

This one sounds awesome. And I think the co-blogger may be getting to review it... Julie, I hate 'choo (only not really... but, once again: stupid ocean!)

So anyway, like the sound of any of these? What books are on your wish list?

*In my defence, my to be read pile is massive and my wish list is even bigger so judging books by their covers does tend to help me narrow it down a little and decide which books to read/which to read first. It's not a good system, because covers can be deceiving, but it's a system and I need a system...

Later.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Awesome: The Hunger Games - Katniss/Rue Scene/Short Film...

Two things, first:

So this was posted up on one of the Hunger Games fan communities on livejournal and it's really, really, really awesome. Just watch it, seriously (warning: you may cry).




Video description from youtube:
"I am a big fan of the Hunger Games books and am excited for the film from Lionsgate. I feel that several actors I know are talented enough to be involved with the feature film, so we did this short as an audition for them."

Anyway, my reaction to the video: isn't it just... just - gah, there aren't words!

The girl who plays Katniss - her acting wasn't completely perfect, but when it was good it was really good (she has been in a few not so well known movies) and her wig (I think it's a wig because the girl is actually blonde) is kind of odd but beyond that, adore her. She could be a good Katniss (and for people who were rooting for them to cast an unknown actress, she definitely fits that criteria).

And Rue? OMG! That girl, she had me bawling my eyes out first time I watched this (and yes, I'm aware she's the wrong race to be Rue but this wasn't some big budget movie where they could hold loads of auditions to get someone perfect for the part - despite the fact she doesn't fit the girls description, she did such a good job. It wouldn't even bother me if she was Rue in the movie since she can tug on my heartstrings like that - although she'd be a great Prim too).

Anyway, what do you all think? Like it? Hate it? Did you cry?

Second thing and I'm going to sound like such a broken record here: sorry for the lack of reviews (from me at least, Julie has been posting way more. Co-blogger: awesome, Lanna: fail). I've just not been reading much and then whenever I'm in the mood to read, somehow I end up writing instead for NaNoWriMo (or procrastinating).

Hopefully I'll post more in December when NaNo is over (right now I'm reading The Book Thief, which is awesome so far).

Later.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Matched by Ally Condie



Matched
Ally Condie
[November 30, 2010]


In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

 What can I say about Matched? That I loved it? That I want to marry this pretty, sparkly book? Or that my brother wants to marry this pretty, sparkly book? OR I can talk about my desperation for the sequel? Thoughts, anybody?

Cassia was an amazing heroine. She truly loved both boys and it was a genuinely hard choice. She was brave and tried to do what was best for her family, but also wanted to make sure SHE would be happy.  It was a killer choice and I don't know that I could pick either. She was also highly intelligent and clever.

Then there's Ky and Xander. It's impossible to hate them. Both love her and want her safe and happy. It seemed almost like they were trying to make her go for the other boy at the end of the book. I'm not even sure what team I'm on with this book. I know who Cassia prefers, but I don't know if that's who I prefer. The last time this happened was for The Iron King. 

Her family was amazing too. So supportive. They all risked their happiness, their jobs, their lives to help the rest of the family. They did whatever they could to make sure nothing happened to them and they were wonderfully supportive of Cassia. Then her brother, Bram, seemed like an actual kid. Not the kid that I babysit in my dreams, but someone I'd see walking around the middle school, despite the different worlds.

This story was captivating. I stayed up late reading it, then sat and read continuously the next day. You kind of have to tear yourself away from the book to get anything done. It's addicting, always wondering what will happen next.

My only fault with this book was that I didn't feel the connection between Ky and Cassia for a while. It wasn't until after Cassia admitted her feelings to herself did it seem like they really loved each other. It was kind of odd.

But beyond that, the writing was phenomenal and the story itself was different and lovely and everything wonderful with the world. I don't think it could've been done much better and I'll be begging for the sequel until I can get my hands on it!

--Julie

Sunday, 14 November 2010

In My Mailbox (45)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.
This week? *happy sigh* Oh this week...


For Review:

Won:
Vladimir Todd bag

Thanks to:
J at Random House
M and A at Harper
B at Simon and Schuster
Danielle and Khelsea

Such an awesome week and all thanks to these wonderful people! Thank ALL of you!

--Julie

Friday, 12 November 2010

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked in to his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City;and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be;and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you'll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

 This book was fun and cute, but I didn't love it the way I loved Dash and Lily's.

Let me start by saying it's different from the book. VERY different. After the first 50 pages or so, it goes in a totally different path. So, that took some adjusting since I adore the movie.

I found I wasn't addicted to read it. Nick and Norah's not even 200 pages and it took me three or four sittings to finish it. Sure, I'm pretty busy this time of year, but 200 pages? That's nothing. So, that was a little disappointing.

The book was fun and cute, though. It had lots of funny moments and Nick was still adorkable, though in a different way and Norah was still kind of bitchy, but in a good way.

I guess...I dunno. I guess I expected more because of my love of the movie and all the amazing things I've heard. It was good and I still enjoyed it a lot, just not as much as I thought I would. But maybe, like the movie, I need to read it more than once to love it...if only I had the time!

--Julie

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Body Finder


The Body Finder
by Kimberly Derting

Release date (UK): today :)

Summary: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

I had heard a lot of good things about The Body Finder and I was dying to read it for months, then when I finally got the chance, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. I worried for nothing -- I really loved the book, it was fantastic.

It had the perfect mix of mystery, romance and just general awesomeness going on. And on top of that, it was really original which hasn’t been happening a lot recently -- we’ve mostly just been getting new spins on old story formulas/genres but The Body Finder wasn’t like that. Forget vampires and werewolves and all of that stuff - a girl with the ability to find murder victims and murderers, how awesome is that? (In a totally strange morbid kind of way, of course.)

My favourite part: the characters. Violet and Jay were awesome, they had such great chemistry and their relationship was awesome, it was really fun to read about that. They were best friends first - something which wins major awesome points with me because it’s such a refreshing change from all of the typical new boy/girl moves to town and falls for the main character - and the way Violets feelings were described was really realistic, if you’ve ever fallen for a friend then you’ll totally relate to what she’s going through. And Jay, well, he was just lovely; can I keep him please?

The fact that there was chapters from the killers point of view was brilliantly creepy (something that worked really well, which surprised me because I didn’t expect it to mix so well with Violet’s chapters and the romance in them). The mystery kept me hooked and turning pages as much as the romance did.

I’m not sure what else I can say about the book without spoiling it (or seeming too fangirlish), so I’ll just leave it at that. I can’t wait for the sequel, Desires of the Dead, to come out, it sounds even better than this one.

Later.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Solid by Shelley Workinger


Solid
by Shelley Workinger

Summary: Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him - except for the living, breathing, human products of his work.

Almost two decades later, the newly self-proclaimed "open-book" military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes, its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as lighter-than-air 'athletes'; 'indies' as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.

While exploring her own special ability, forging new friendships and embarking on first love, Clio also stumbles onto information indicating that the military may not have been entirely forthcoming with them and that all may not be as it seems...

I’m not quite sure what to say about this one, I did really like it; it was fun, I loved the idea of the story and the characters amused me… but there was just something about it that was kind of a miss with me.

I think it may have been the time frame of the story. The whole thing happens in about one week - if I’m remembering correctly - and so, while I was entertained by the book, I wasn’t really convinced about some things to do with the characters.

Bliss was adorable, Miranda was annoying but weirdly likeable in spite of that, Garrett made me laugh and wish I had a friend like him… then there was Jack, as a love interest, he was awesome; he was really sweet and seemed like one of those genuinely good guys, which makes a change from all of the books I’ve been reading where the protagonist falls for the bad boy of the story.

Clio, I really liked her, she didn’t bore me and I liked that she was realistic -- she wasn’t portrayed as weak and she didn’t suddenly turn into super girl just because she had a special ability, she was firmly in the middle ground and I liked that; she was a good protagonist.

The reason I’m saying this is because I honestly did like the characters, but somehow I didn’t feel any connection to them and because of that, where I should have been feeling fear or sadness or some sort of empathy for what they were going through, I didn’t feel anything.

I wasn’t really convinced by their relationships with each other either, they didn’t seem to spend that much time together and yet after a week they’re all like best friends. The romance especially didn’t work for me - which is odd because that’s often my favourite part of books - Jack was lovely and Clio was awesome and I was rooting for them to get together but it didn’t feel real or like they had much chemistry.

I guess the circumstances they were in may have been a catalyst for the bonds they formed, but their relationships still felt kind of flat and unconvincing to me, like they weren’t developed naturally and we were told that they had this great bond without being properly shown. Maybe if the book was longer and set over a slightly longer period of time (maybe a few weeks or a month), it would’ve been different.

Now to the more positive things. I was hooked on the story from the start and even though I figured out/guessed a few of the twists long before the characters did, there were still elements that totally surprised me which was great. The story managed to get this awesome balance where it could have this sci-fi element to it but still seem totally realistic and believable to the point where I was convinced this kind of thing could actually happen. (And I really loved the setting… just thought I’d throw that out there -- the secret army base thing totally brought the awesome.)

Sorry this review has been kind of scattered -- it’s difficult to review a book you liked while explaining what it was that prevented you from loving it. But anyway, I recommend the book and I really want to read the sequel (and maybe some of the issues I had with this one will be sorted out in the sequel, once the characters/relationships have more time to develop).

Rating (which I don’t normally add, but since the review was kind of mixed, I figured it would give you a better idea of my overall opinion): 3.5/4 stars out of 5, leaning more towards 4.

Later.

P.s. Please note that the whole not connecting to the character thing could just be a me-thing, I've seen some other reviews from people who loved the book and didn't have the same issue. =P

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Shadow Hills Paperback Puzzle

You read that title right, folks.

Today we're hosting part of a blog tour. You get to enter a contest and you get to slowly see the Shadow Hills paperback cover!

On November 20, the cover will be posted on the author, Anastasia Hopcus', website! You can follow her on twitter or like Shadow Hills on facebook to get the cover as soon as it's posted!

Here is the piece I was given:


And the question at this stop is:
4. Who guesses the correct answer to George's Pictionary drawing?

 Now for the contest! One winner will win a signed poster with the book's hardcover cover on it! And that cover is gorgeous! Anybody with the correct answer will be entered into random.org to pick one. Contest ends November 20, the same day you finally see the whole cover! And it's US only, sorry international folks!






 Today, my PARTNER blog (meaning they have the same puzzle piece, but a different question) is Novel Thoughts Blog! So be sure to head over there!

To catch up on yesterday's pieces, check out Mundie Moms and Penultimate Page

For the next pieces, check out Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm and Sophistikatied Reviews

If you haven't read Shadow Hills yet (you crazy loon), you should read my review, tell me you're silly for not having read it, and then purchase it at IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or The Book Depository.

Good luck to all those who enter! And good luck solving the puzzle. ;)

--Julie

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Replacement Blog Tour: An Excerpt of The Replacement and Bracelet Giveaway!

 Today we have a very special excerpt from The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff! And scroll down for a giveaway at the end of the post!

Brenna's note – This is a scene from the beginning of the book and I'm probably over-explaining, but here goes anyway: Mackie is walking home from school and meets a very strange man.


I walked along Welsh Street until I came to the place where the road dead-ended. I stepped over the low concrete divider and started down the footpath toward the slag heap.
    When the refinery was running, they’d just dump the gravel and quicklime into the ravine to get rid of it. It piled up for years, covered in skinny trees and clumps of weeds. It was the only part of Gates that still existed.
    There were dump hills and slag heaps all over the county, but in Gentry, the elementary school kids never climbed the fences. Other towns’ slag heaps were fenced for liability reasons. They were low and gray and not very interesting. Ours were so black they looked burned. They were fenced because it was better to stay away.
    The stories people told were the campfire kind, possessions and hauntings. Grinning, rotting things that rose from the dead at night and walked around deserted streets. None of it was believable, but that was irrelevant. It didn’t matter if the stories were just stories. You still didn’t want to go there.
    Partway down the side of the hill, the path split and followed a footbridge across to the other side of the ravine. A man was standing in the middle of the bridge, which was weird because it wasn’t the kind of place grown-ups usually hung out. He was leaning on the railing, staring out with his chin in his hands. He looked familiar in a way I couldn’t place.
    I didn’t really want to go any closer, but I had to walk past him to get home or else climb back up the hill and go all the way around to Breaker Street. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my jacket and stepped out onto the bridge.
    “You look awful,” he said as I came up next to him. It was a strange thing to say because it was rude and he was a stranger, but also because he wasn’t looking at me.    
    He had on a long coat with frayed cuffs and military stripes sewed onto the sleeves. There was a row of holes down the front, like someone had cut the snaps out.
    “Your eyes,” he said suddenly, turning to stare at me. “Your eyes are black as stones.”
    I glanced back over my shoulder to make sure there was no one else on the path before I nodded. My eyes were always dark, but iron just made it worse. The dizziness was nearly gone, although I still felt sweaty and pale.
    The man leaned closer. The skin around his eyes was bruised, oily looking. His complexion was an unhealthy shade of yellow. “I could help you.”
    “I’m not an expert or anything, but you look like you need a little more help than I do.”
    That made him smile, which didn’t improve his appearance. “My face is simply a result of my poor breeding, but you, my friend, are in bad shape. You need something to get you back on your feet.” He pointed across the bridge to the other side of the ravine, my quiet suburban neighborhood and my house. “That way lies misery. It’s what you’re going home to, and I think you know it.”
    Rain pattered on the bridge. I glanced over the rail and down at the slag heap. It was so black that you could almost see other colors. My heart was beating harder than was comfortable.
    “I’m not interested,” I said. My mouth was dry.
    He nodded gravely. “But you will be.”
    It didn’t sound like a threat or a warning. His voice was flat. He took a watch out of his coat pocket and turned away from me, flipping the lid open but staring down at the slag heap.
    After a minute, I edged past him, careful not to let our shoulders touch. I crossed to where the path climbed the other side of the ravine and came out at the intersection of Orchard and Concord. I kept going, trying hard to fight the panic in my chest. A small, fearful part of me was convinced he was following, he was coming up behind me, but when I turned back toward the bridge, there was nothing.

 Creepy, right?

Well now you can enter to win a Replacement themed bracelet! The bracelet has charms just like the mobile on the cover. The contest is US only and ends on November 15 at 2 EST. So you have one week to enter! I'd tell you all I'd announce the winner on the blog, but I never do. So if you're the winner, you'll get an email next Monday. ;)



Good luck everyone!

--Julie

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In My Mailbox (44)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Lanna:

Well... sorry I've kind of been M.I.A. recently. NaNoWriMo + not really in the mood to read + ill + general procrastination. I think at some point this month, I need to take a weekend off from writing and just read. Actually, I will do that next weekend if I can hit, I dunno, 30K in my NaNoWriMo before then (halfway there already).

And I'll stfu about that now and get on with the IMM (I should not have bought new books, but I did, because I'm addicted *facepalm*):

Bought:


(ignore the little "New" tags, I decided to print screened my Shelfari shelf because the covers played a part in me buying some of these *shrugs*)

Exposed by Susan Vaught - I saw someone mention it on youtube and it seemed interesting... and I liked the cover.
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty - I've been meaning to read this one for ages and then another blogger (Adele/Pernsnickety Snark, I think) mentioned it and so I bought it (I think it's published under another name too, Finding Cassie Crazy?). I think it's the second book in a series though, I'll need to double check, but I think the series is more companion novels than sequels? Not sure.

Sandpiper by Ellen Wittlinger - Again, another blogger mentioned it a while ago and it made me want to read it. And the cover is awesome.

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand - Awesome cover, awesome title, generally sounds awesome. I hope it lives up to the awesomeness.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Never heard of this one before, or the author... just kind of stumbled across it on Amazon and it sounded good. *shrugs* Yes, I'm talking crap - I watched Lost in Austen the other day and it put me in a Pride and Prejudice type mood, so I bought this; I already own the complete works of Jane Austen, but it's massive and not really good for just reading.

Anyway, what'd you get this week? And if you're doing NaNoWriMo, how you doing with that?

Later.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Crush by Richard Siken


Crush
by Richard Siken

Summary: Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake and dress them in warm clothes again...

Richard Siken’s Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism.

I’m not really sure how to review this, it’s not usually the kind of book I would review and I don’t read poetry often but Crush is fantastic.

I haven’t read much poetry written in the kind of style that Richard Siken uses but I really like it, the way he strings words together is just beautiful and raw, a lot of his poems really got under my skin and stuck with me. Each one tells a story and not in the obscure kind of style that a lot of poets write in, it’s still poetic but more to the point and each one seemed to have a theme of panic or pain or obsession or everything about love/lust that hurts, which I loved.

This was the one that made me buy the book in the first place, because someone posted it on Tumblr and I just had to read more of Richard Siken’s writing:

"You’re in a car with a beautiful boy, and he won’t tell you that he loves you, but he loves you. And you feel like you’ve done something terrible, like robbed a liquor store, or swallowed pills, or shoveled yourself a grave in the dirt, and you’re tired. You’re in a car with a beautiful boy, and you’re trying not to tell him that you love him, and you’re trying to choke down the feeling, and you’re trembling, but he reaches over and he touches you, like a prayer for which no words exist, and you feel your heart taking root in your body, like you’ve discovered something you didn’t even have a name for." 

Another one that I loved, and it was really appropriate given the whole gay suicide/wear purple type thing that was all over the internet recently:

"The blond boy in the red trunks is holding your head underwater
because he is trying to kill you,
and you deserve it, you do, and you know this,
and you are ready to die in this swimming pool
because you wanted to touch his hands and lips and this means
your life is over anyway.
You're in eighth grade. You know these things.
You know how to ride a dirt bike, and you know how to do
long division,
and you know that a boy who likes boys is a dead boy, unless
he keeps his mouth shut, which is what you
didn't do,
because you are weak and hollow and it doesn't matter anymore." 

Basically, I really recommend the book, even if poetry isn’t really your kind of thing you might like this.

Later.

P.s. Sorry I’ve been kind of M.I.A recently, I’ve not been reading much and NaNoWriMo has been distracting me. I should have a review of Solid up soon though.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Back to Home Back to Top Bloggers Heart Books. Theme ligneous by pure-essence.net. Bloggerized by Chica Blogger.