Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Recommend or Not to Recommend

I had a friend visit me this past weekend, and she made the mistake of innocently glancing over my bookcase while I was looking up something on IMDB. Of course, being a good little book blogger, I pounced and starting yanking books out right and left, giving synopses and brief reviews and recommending whether to buy or borrow. Her eyes were saucer-huge by the time I took a breath and realized there was no way she was going to remember any of it. I felt a little silly because I sounded just like my reviews--sort of professional-thorough and crazy-random at the same time--in other words, totally different from how I actually speak. (Do my reviews sound that way to you?)

So anyway, I was wondering, how do you deal with recommending books to people? Do you wait until someone asks? If your friends and family know you're a book blogger, do people ask for recommendations? What all information do you give them when you recommend something?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: Beautiful Darkness

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.


[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review of By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she's determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for "completers"- www.through-the-light.com.

While she's on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she's not on the Web, Daelyn's at her private school, where she's known as the freak who doesn't talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she's waiting for her parents to pick her up. Even though she's made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won't give up. And it's too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life. Isn't it?


[from Goodreads]
   
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Anyone on the fringe...
High point:  The emotional involvement
Low point:  Really hard to take in
Reader maturity:  15+

Wow. By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead is an incredibly powerful book. While its message is one of hope for the future, do not read this if you're not in a stable state of mind. It's poignant and emotional; Daelyn's pain rolls of the pages in waves, threatening to drown the reader in sorrow but managing at the last minute to pull back and provide but a glimpse of Daelyn's pain. Even with all of that, the novel has its moments of humor and lightness, though even the lightness has a dark side.

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead would be great reading for parents or friends of teens with depressive tendencies. It provides an insight into a little seen world without being unbearably heavy. Julie Anne Peters did an amazing job of showcasing the changes to the thought process that occur with both the teenage years and depression. Like the fictional website in the novel, the author neither promotes or decries suicide, but the positive message, though subtle, exists strongly enough to drive home the message without becoming preachy.

Daelyn is a jaded, lost main character that speaks to the angsty teen that most of us once were. Her parents are clueless, like so many real parents and friends. Their love for her is obvious, though she doesn't see it. They try hard to be good, to do what's right and still they don't see. The parent-child relationship was very realistic. I felt sorry for both Daelyn and her parents; they were both searching blindly but couldn't find the path, together or alone.

The flashbacks and hints at Daelyn's past are ingeniously woven into the tapestry of the story, never detracting or distracting. I spent page after page hoping for a happy ending. The side characters are few, due to Daelyn's insistence on being alone, but they're crafted with skill and a quality that makes them leap from the pages in the instances where Daelyn lets them in.

Overall, I was very impressed by By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead. It far surpassed my expectations and is a stunning glimpse into the darker side of teenage life. Due to the intensity of the plot, I can't give it 5 out of 5 because it's going to be a while before I'm able to read it again. It's definitely worth your time, though.

Due to the subject matter, the novel may not be appropriate for young teens. There's also some swearing and some pretty intense emotional scenes, but if you can handle it, it's a powerful story.

Title:  By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
Author:  Julie Anne Peters
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Books Make Great Lovers

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top Five Books of 2011

You've probably heard about a little thing called Contest Craze, hosted by the all-bloggerful Princess Bookie. There are mini-challenges during the two week giveaway fest, with prizes awarded to the participants. The first challenge is to name your top 5 books of 2011. So here goes!

1. The Lost Saint by Bree Despain. Umm...I'm going to cheat just a little on the first one. This actually comes out December 28, 2010, but I won't get a chance to read it until 2011...

2. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead. Yay! It's finally coming out in paperback! (It has to match the rest of my collection.)

3. Steel by Carrie Vaughn. I'm sure the synopsis piques the imagination, but the cover is what caught my attention.

 4. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan. Because I want to torture my soul while I read, I suppose...it will be worth it though!

5. And last, but certainly not least (although, sadly, cover-less), Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of 13 to Life

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Readers surfing the werewolf wave
High point:  Jessie's REALness
Low point:  Nothing specific...
Reader maturity: 13+

13 to Life is an immensely good book. Sure, sure, I might've been swayed by the blue tattooed cover or the fact that my name is scrawled in gold pen on the title page...but I wasn't. 13 to Life is definitely worth the read, whether you buy it at the bookstore or stumble across it in the library. It's different in that it's a werewolf novel that doesn't center around werewolves or dredge up a host of already familiar mythology. Instead, we're treated to the world of the Russian Mafia, small town Junction and a refreshingly normal teenage girl.

Jessie is my kind of main character; she's smart and studious and responsible and has a good head on her shoulders. She does some wild-for-her things in the novel, but she takes the reader along as she stretches out her metaphorical wings.

I figured out, long before Jessie, what the mysterious dark things were, but it didn't ruin the novel. I enjoyed the journey to Jessie's discovery of them. Jessie and Pietr have an interesting relationship. That's one part of the novel that truly surprised me. I didn't expect them to continue on as they did for so long, but it felt better to me than if they had fallen head over heels and secluded themselves in their own little world.

Even though this is the first in a series, it never felt dry or dull; it works very well as a stand-alone novel, containing romance and action and mystery. It's also quite clean, so it's enjoyable for all YA readers and has elements to appeal to all of them. I can't wait for the sequel, Secrets and Shadows, to continue unraveling the secrets of Junction.

Title:  13 to Life
Author:  Shannon Delany
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from Aine's Realm

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Friday 56: Beautiful Creatures

Closest Book:  Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Page 56, sentence 5:  " 'I bet Lena Ravenwood knows,' Eden said, smiling innocently at Mrs. English. Lena looked down into the lines of her notebook, but didn't say a word."










Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Book Blogger Hop 9/24

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books so that readers and bloggers can get to know each other a little better.
In Jennifer's words:
This is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read.  It's a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends!  Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!
So head over to the Blog Hop and have some fun! Thanks for stopping by!

To answer this week's CRAZY question:

I wait until I've finished the whole book. Sometimes a book redeems itself in its last pages; sometimes it shoots itself in the foot. Now that I'm a book blogger, I also try to finish every book I start. I've only failed once. After finishing a book, I put it on my review shelf, and wait a few days to review it. I like to let the initial highs or lows fade a little because that can give the subtle nuances a chance to shine. It doesn't affect how I feel about the book, but it makes for a more balanced review.


How long do you wait before you review? Do you wait at all?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2)

This is another colourful, action-packed Victorian detective novel about the exploits of agent Mary Quinn. At a young age, Mary Quinn is rescued from the gallows and taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. The school turns out to be a front for a private detective agency. At age 17, Mary takes on her first case (A Spy in the House). In this, the second book of the series, Mary Quinn sets out to uncover the truth behind a suspicious death at St. Stephen's Tower, better known as the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The accident occurred after hours in a highly public part of town and despite the presence of night watchmen. Mary, disguised as Mark Quinn, becomes a builder's assistant to find out the truth about the body at the tower.

[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review of The Lonely Hearts Club

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like...
[from Goodreads]
 









Rating:   4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Everyone! Except maybe guys...
High point:  Penny Bloom's positive and fresh attitude
Low point:  Not having a Lonely Hearts Club at my high school
Reader maturity:  13+

The Lonely Hearts Club is one of the few contemporary YA novels that I fully and wholeheartedly recommend. It's fun, vibrant and fresh, with a voice that almost everyone can relate to.

In short, the main character, Penny Lane Bloom, fed up with guys and their games, decides not to date until after high school. This causes some problems among the boys, but the girls find a sense of peace and self. One of the things that makes The Lonely Hearts Club stand out from the crowd is that Penny Lane is a moderate leader; she doesn't participate in guy-bashing and she's willing to consider compromises and changes to the rules as needed to accommodate the evolving ideology of the group. She works hard to create a positive environment for her fellow girls and reacts to the nay-sayers with poise and dignity. She makes some mistakes, of course, but while she never falls into the immature adolescent trap, neither is she a stick in the mud or too old for her age.

The girls she surrounds herself with are phenomenal. A relationship with an old enemy was pulled off smoothly, and I was so, so pleased with the outcome. The spurned guys in the novel felt so real in their immaturity and general high-school-guy-ishness. They weren't evil or stupid or plain boorish; Elizabeth Eulberg made them feel like real people too, albeit with evil, stupid, boorish tendencies. Enjoyably, the novel has an undercurrent of humor based on everyday high school observations, and I laughed aloud more than once, gulping the entire book down in one sitting.

I ended the novel wishing that there had been a Lonely Hearts Club at my high school. I think everyone would have benefited from the camaraderie and friendship. The Lonely Hearts Club is not only a great book for YA readers of all ages, it's also appropriate for everyone who might be interested.

Title:  The Lonely Hearts Club
Author:  Elizabeth Eulberg
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2009
Book Source:  Won from Reading Angel

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Strange Angels

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?
[from Goodreads]
 





Rating:   2.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Riders of the paranormal bandwagon
High point:  The menagerie of supernatural critters
Low point:  Dru...and the tagline
Reader maturity: 15+

I really, really thought I was going to love Strange Angels. It had been taunting me for months on my Amazon list, flashing its shiny cover letters and making me shiver to think that the girl on the cover might be a zombie. (She's not.) But sadly, my expectations were much greater than the book itself. It's not bad;  if you find it at your library or a really good sale, you might as well pick it up. It's not, however, at all like I thought it would be.

The main character, Dru, is a night hunter and maybe a knife thrower, but she's definitely not a heartbreaker. (I'm referencing the tagline on the cover, btw.) So I felt sort of cheated to start off with. After that, Dru waffled around, vacillating between being totally kick-some-rear-end awesome to being sort of a tool to her one and only friend to being kinda dumb about her one and only friend. She does point out that she's lost without her dad, but then she goes off and tries to take control of everything in her "usual" manner. It was discordant, and I found her immaturity grating.

Aside from Dru, the characters are pretty fun. I wish we'd seen more of Dru's dad, but Graves and Christophe were really entertaining, particularly in their interactions with each other. I didn't quite believe in Graves-and-Dru, but they have a few awww-inducing scenes. Graves, individually, was pretty cool--laidback and sweet and saying "The first one's free" all the time. That line makes me chuckle in real life every time I find it situationally appropriate.

While nothing groundbreaking, the plot was well put-together, combining vampires and werewulfen and other supernatural creatures for a truly unique story. If you'll pardon the comparison, it was like reading about an episode of Supernatural with a girl MC instead of the Winchester boys, sort of fun and adventurous and exciting and chill-inducing all at the same time (and with lots of guns).

So will I pick up the sequel, Betrayals? If it falls into my hands at the right price, yes. While not my favorite book ever, the sequel will still be worth my time.

Title:  Strange Angels
Author:  Lili St. Crow
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2009
Book Source:  Purchased

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Friday 56: Incarceron

Closest Book:  Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Page 56, sentence 5:  "No one else took any notice of the Eyes, but he loathed them. Getting up, he turned his back on it. 'Come with me,' he snapped. 'Somewhere quieter.' "











Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: Where the Truth Lies

On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.


[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review of Princess for Hire

When a well-dressed woman steps out of a bubble and wants to know if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you
A) run
B) faint
C) say yes?
For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for some glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C). Desi has a rare ability: with the help of "Royal Rouge," she can temporarily transform into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?
Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras.... In this winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Pretend princesses, of course!
High point:  Desi, her jobs, the absolute fun of the novel
Low point:  Not knowing if there's a sequel
Reader maturity:  13+

Princess for Hire is one of the cutest, most adorable, lovable, laugh-out-loud-able, you're-going-to-have-to-pry-this-from-my-cold-dead-fingers awesome books I've read in a while. Whew.

Okay.

Pardon me for a minute while I re-tie my hair. It's gone all over the place. I didn't expect to get quite that excited about it.

Now then...Princess for Hire was fantastic. Five out of five, for sure! Lindsay Leavitt has crafted the latest Cinderella story, newly updated for the modern girl and with makeup and magic and dunk tanks aplenty. In Princess for Hire, the newest princess for hire, Desi, personifies three different princesses of varying rank and tries to convince the Rainbow Council and her mentor that she's ready for the job.

It's rare that I actually laugh aloud while reading, but I found  myself chuckling repeatedly and sympathizing with the main character, Desi. Desi is a really funny, strong, self-aware narrator, and while she struggles with a typical boy problem, she doesn't let it redefine who she really is. Even in the face of what the "real" princesses consider adversity, she stands up for herself/them and puts their lives back on track. She's also got a huge heart and her princesses' best interests in mind.

I don't want to ruin the story so I won't go into much detail, but I will say that each princess has her own set of problems. They're handled with grace, not only by Desi, but also by Ms. Leavitt, who treats each character with respect. While their issues may be stereotypical, the presentation of them is not. Self esteem and respect are hot topics in the novel, but they never feel forced or preachy. They're simply feel-good by-products of Desi and the plot.

I couldn't find if there's a sequel in the works, but I would love it if one was! A follow-up on the princesses Desi emulated would be fun, and of course, more of Desi's adventures would be welcome. If you're looking for a light read that still has plenty of endearing substance with a healthy dash of comedy, you should definitely pick up Princess for Hire.

Title:  Princess for Hire
Author:  Lindsey Leavitt
Genre:   Fiction - Fantasy
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from Read This Book!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent-and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death... 
[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Paranormal fans of many ages
High point: The lyrical quality of the story
Low point: The love interest age difference
Reader maturity: 13+

Many months ago, I read a review of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker that said the title was incredibly apt. Pfft, I thought, not understanding. Then I read the book, and it's true:  it is the strangely beautiful tale of Miss Percy Parker.

It has all the trappings of a great novel:  a romance between an (adult) teacher and his (adult) pupil, a woman scorned, an evil temptress, the happy-go-lucky guy pals, one staunchly loyal friend...There's magic and birds and long robes and turn-of-the-century manners. It's a contemporary-type paranormal tale set in a much older England.

Percy herself was quite a joy to travel with. She was delicate and strong and level-headed. While progressive, she didn't take on a 21st century attitude, as often happens in historically based novels. Her behavior would have, I'm sure, been scandalous at the time, but it fit into the story nicely. If anything, Percy was a little too meek at times, but then she...ah, well, that's the story, isn't it? You'll have to read it to find out!

The scenery and backdrops were gorgeously described, as were the clothes and habits of the characters. Leanna Renee Heiber writes to transport her readers to another world, more refined, more solemn and, of course, more magical. The pages simply came to life, which is no easy feat under the best of circumstances and, believe me, I didn't read this under the best of circumstances. If I can time travel to Athens Academy on a 9 day road trip with a car full of friends and a back seat full of crackly snacks, you can thoroughly enjoy the adventure too. I hope you will!

The only thing that really threw me off with this book is that Professor Alexi is quite a bit older than Percy. That may all have been well and good during the setting of the novel, but I had to keep faking myself out and pretending he was younger.

Other than that, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker...was.

Title:  The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
Author:  Leanna Renee Hieber
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2009
Book Source:  Purchased

Friday, September 10, 2010

Winner of Minder T-Shirt

Whew, guys, first I forgot to pick a winner, and then when I went to pick one, I accidentally erased the form! Yes, really...

Thankfully, Google anticipated that and allowed me to revert to a version from a few minutes before so your entries were safe. :-)

And the winner is...entry #17, Wendy H.!! Congrats, Wendy! Enjoy your shirt!

The Friday 56: The Dark Divine

Closest Book:  The Dark Divine

Author: Bree Despain
Page 56, sentence 5:  "What if Daniel, in his own sideways manner, had been asking for help the other night? Asking for my help?"











 Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Blogger Hop 9/10

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books so that readers and bloggers can get to know each other a little better.
In Jennifer's words:
This is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read.  It's a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends!  Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!
So head over to the Blog Hop and have some fun! Thanks for stopping by!

To answer this week's question:

The past 3 months, eh? Well, I don't know if you've realized it or not, but I'm really bad at picking my favorite books, even in a 3 month timespan. So I'll just have to give you my favorite 3, right? 1 for each month?
  1. At the end of June, I reviewed The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen and fell in love, with her writing, with Wes, and yes, maybe even a little in love with contemporary YA romance.
  2. In July, I discovered the Dark Guardian novels by Rachel Hawthorne. I spent my hours reading Moonlight swooning over Lucas.
  3. August heralded warm weather (melting my book binding!) and gave me a chance to dive into Firespell. It was a fun, action-packed, lightly romantic read. Perfect!
I'm sure those choices say a lot about me... :-D

What are your favorites of the last three months and what, if anything, do they say about you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: Nevermore

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.


[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review of Take Me There

In one short week . . . three lives change.

Rhiannon is devastated after the breakup with her boyfriend and wants him back. Nicoles ex is still in the picture, but she can't help having a new crush. James and Rhiannon are just friends, though he may try to take it to the next level. Will their desire to take a mean girl down a notch bring these three friends what they want . . . and more?

[from Goodreads]
 







Rating:  3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Anyone looking for a sweet, young-love story
High point: The narrative style
Low point:  Possible cringe-worthy moments
Reader maturity: 13+

Take Me There was a cute story that was the perfect beach read. Even the threat of a repeat hardshell crab attack didn't sway me from my mission to follow Rhiannon, Nicole and James as their high school drama unfolded. Normally I don't like contemporary YA, and while I didn't looove Take Me There, that's purely because contemporary isn't my favorite. It had me laughing aloud in several places and, I'll admit, skipping ahead to make sure everything was going to turn out okay. Perfectly beachworthy.

Rhiannon, one of the three narrators, had me a little bit concerned with the fate of the novel. She's boy crazy and a little bit...intense. My neck was on pins and needles waiting to cringe (ditto for the best friend, Nicole), but I needn't have feared...too much. Our heroines were much more level-headed than I initially gave them credit for. The narration is unusual in that all three narrators advance the story, but they also retell the same episodes from their own points of view. That balance is what really saved the novel from becoming too teen-y for me.

Take Me There is balanced in a different way as well. While mostly a fun story about love and friendship, it also touches on the harsh truth of physical and emotional abuse. The take on those difficult issues is respectful and keeps the novel from being too fluffy. Overall, I enjoyed it, and I'm really glad I picked it to take to the beach!

Title:  Take Me There
Author:  Susane Colasanti
Genre:  Teen Fiction - Romance & Friendship
Year:   2008
Book Source:  Purchased

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Fade

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: YA paranormal fans
High point: The aftertaste
Low point: The lack of communication
Reader maturity: 15+

Having experienced the drama of Wake, I was eager to read Fade and see if the intensity could continue. It did, 100%. In Fade, Janie's on a mission, learning the truth about events at her high school and uncovering the dark consequences of her abilities.

Fade was a much more enjoyable experience for me, in that the story moves along at a faster clip, with more action and an extra (and interesting) plotline. Janie is still prone to drastic emotional high-lows, as is Cabe, but in Fade, she strives to operate on a more even keel than in the previous book. Cabe and Janie have some serious communication issues, but their affection for one another is not only natural but necessary.

The writing style is the same as in Wake, although it took less time for me to acclimate myself to the third person, present tense this time. After finishing Fade late one night, I bemoaned the fact that there's no such thing (around here) as a 24 hour bookstore. I can't wait to read Gone!

Title:  Fade
Author:  Lisa McMann
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Suspense
Year:   2009
Book Source:  Won from Shooting Stars Mag

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Friday 56: The Reluctant Heiress

Closest Book:  The Reluctant Heiress

Author: Eva Ibbotson
Page 56, sentence 5:  "Now, in his suite at Sachers, he rang for Thisbe Purse. The woman who arrived in response to his summons was a grim-faced spinster with a graying bun of hair and steel-rimmed spectacles."








Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: Sleepless

Eron De Marchelle isn't supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to--after all, getting too involved in one human's life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't seem to reach her . . .

Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?


[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.