Saturday, October 04, 2008

Breaking Dawn--Stephanie Meyer

I don't think Meyer will ever be able to match what she had with Twilight. I enjoyed New Moon and then the series started to lose it with Eclipse. And now we have Breaking Dawn. Twilight was just so GOOD. Breaking Dawn is, well, okay.

I read it quickly because I wanted to see how it all ended. I liked it better than most of my friends did. But there were problems. I'm not sure how I can go into them without spoiling the book. Let's just say the major plot points of this book felt like a cop-out to me. It felt like she didn't have a vision when she started the series, didn't anticipate the success, and she was grasping at straws at the end.

I enjoyed the book in the sense that I had heard so many negative things about it from my friends, that I thought it was going to royally suck. And when it didn't suck, I was pleasantly surprised. I think it's a must-read to conclude the series, but it's a bit disappointing.

Superior Saturday--Garth Nix

If you're a "regular" reader of this barely updated blog, you'll know of my love affair with Garth Nix. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do when this series ends... I guess I'll have to wait for his next one.

Superior Saturday is the 6th in a 7 book series. I reviewed the last one here. You can get links to the others there as well.

Arthur, the rightful heir, has collected 5 parts of the will and 5 keys. Since using the keys are slowly turning him into a denizen, he has only kept one key in an attempt to keep himself human. In this book Arthur tries to find the 6th part of the will and 6th key, as he also tries to keep the House from disappearing into nothing.

I cannot tell you if he is successful. Not because of a desire to keep you unspoiled. But because this book is a MAJOR CLIFFHANGER.

This series is just amazing. There's adventure and fantasy and mystery. But there's also a lot of deep stuff for adults. There's the religious framework underlying the series...the 7 deadly sins... and so much more. This would make a great book discussion title. Or series discussion title.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lock and Key--Sarah Dessen

17 year old Ruby didn't plan on her alcoholic mom abandoning her. She didn't plan on living alone and taking care of herself. She sure didn't plan on getting caught and being sent to live with her older sister Cora--who she hadn't seen in 10 years. But what she didn't plan most of all was finding a home.

I love Sarah Dessen and I've heard mixed reviews of this book. It wasn't her strongest, but I still enjoyed it. It was kind of funny how I could pick up on little things that have changed in her writing because of her life-changes... she recently had a baby and she had a character who was trying to have a baby and not successful. In one scene she's taking her temperature in the morning and Ruby assumes that she must be sick, but because things in MY life have changed as well, I instantly knew what she was doing (charting). I don't think that would have been in there 10 years ago.

There was definitely a message in this book, but I don't think it was as heavy-handed as I've read from other reviewers. Certainly not enough to detract from the overall quality. I'm a big Dessen fan though so maybe I'm biased.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Something to Blog About--Shana Norris

I picked this book up because of the title. It was a nice quick read. Here's the summary from the library catalog:

When pages from tenth-grader Libby Fawcett's password-protected blog are posted all over Yeardley High by her nemesis Angel Rivera, whose father is dating Libby's mother, the whole school finds out her humiliating secrets, as well as those of her friends and acquaintances.

I enjoyed the story and I liked the blogging aspect of it. I read it last month but forgot to post about it. It's your typical high school girl has her diary exposed story, but the blogging twist is new.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Powers--Ursula K. Le Guin

Title: Powers
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Pages: 502 p.
Publisher: Harcourt
ISBN: 9780152057701

This is the third book in the Annals of the Western Shore series. The first was Gifts
The second one was Voices and I have somehow not posted it here. I must have been pregnant.

Powers is about a young slave boy named Gavir who is able to both remember the past exactly (photographic memory) and remember things that haven't happened yet (predict the future). He doesn't understand his visions until after they have already happened. He is happy enough for a slave, trusting his "Family" completely, until a tragedy strikes and he questions his entire existence. He escapes slavery and begins looking for his true home and identity.

Le Guin is a good story teller and has created a likable, albeit naive character. All of her main characters are flawed in some way--Orrec, Memer (from Voices) and now Gavir. The ending of this book links it to the previous two and hints at more stories to come. It looks as though Le Guin is gathering her heroes... perhaps in the end they will change their oppressive world and get rid of the conflict of occupied countries and slavery?

Although the story itself does stand alone, fans of the first two will want to read this one as well.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Falling--Doug Wilhelm

Title: Falling
Author: Doug Wilhelm
Pages: 241 p.
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
ISBN: 978-0-374-32251-9

I wonder if I'm falling away from YA books... I just couldn't feel this one. It felt forced. The plot was okay (older brother gets hooked on drugs, younger brother can't deal, falls in love, jeopardizes new relationship), but it just didn't feel true to me. The main characters felt a connection way too easily, quickly, and while that can indeed happen I just didn't see it here. I hate saying bad things about books. I would rather not do a review than a bad one. So I'll end here and just say this was not one of the best I've read.

On My Nightstand:

The Heroin Diaries--Nikki Sixx

Title: The Heroin Diaries-A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star
Author: Nikki Sixx
Pages: 413 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN: 978-0-7434-8628-6

This is a must read for not only Motley Crue fans, but for parents and teenagers. Anyone who thinks the sex, drugs, rock n' roll lifestyle is glamorous is in for a wake-up call. First-hand accounts from band members and other people and interspersed with Nikki Sixx's diary entries. It's amazing to see how badly he was doing and how other people could see some of it but just let it go because he was still making music.

This is an amazing read. There's raw language and adult situations. Classic sex & drugs. But parents should really let their teens read this and get the true story of a heroin addict.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The sweet, terrible, glorious year, I truly completely lost it--Lisa Shanahan

Title: the sweet, terrible, glorious year I truly, completely lost it
Author: Lisa Shanahan
Pages: 297 p
Publisher: delacorte press
ISBN: 9780385735162

Gemma Stone (HAHA. Get it? Gem Stone. GEMSTONE) has always been a calm shy girl who throws up when she speaks in public. The same year that her sister gets engaged and plans a crazy wedding, Gemma discovers that she can keep the bile down if she's speaking in character--in a play on stage. She also discovers that the school delinquent is a gifted actor and a true friend.

I gobbled this book up. It was fun. It's Australian so some of the slang is odd--but in a good way. It's a fun quick read and I'd recommend it. And I now have my new favorite phrase in the world: chucking a birkett*.

* "IN MY FAMILY, when anyone rides the wave of their emotions, we say they're chucking a birkett. When the emotion drives out all common sense, we say they're chucking a big one. The telltale signs are: flaming cheeks, shortness of breath, bulging eyes, and a prolonged illogical outburst."
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sweethearts--Sara Zarr

Title: Sweethearts
Author: Sara Zarr
Pages: 217 p
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
ISBN: 0316014559

I was lucky enough to get this title as an ARC. I read it in ONE DAY.

Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick are both outcasts in their elementary school and naturally bond with one another. They are best friends and understand each other like no one else does. And then one day Cameron disappears. Devastated and heartbroken Jennifer morphs into Jenna--a popular, friendly, pretty girl who is the exact opposite of Jennifer--and moves to a new school leaving her past behind. Until the day Cameron Quick reappears in her life.

This is a wonderful poignant story about friendship, love and loss. There are some deep issues in this book--the story of emotional abuse that Cameron endures at the hands of his sadistic cruel father is the most important one. There are mentions of sex but nothing is ever fully described. I would recommend it for junior high and up.

On My Nightstand:

Beige--Cecil Castellucci

Title: Beige
Author: Cecil Castelluci
Pages: 307
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763630669

Katy lives in Canada with her mom and has had very little contact with her American rock star father until her mom needs to go on an archeology dig without her. The only person who can take care of Katy for those 2 weeks turns out to be the Dad she never knew. Two weeks turn into the whole summer as her mom gets more and more interested in the dig and Katy feels more and more left behind until she snaps and realizes she has a lot more in common with her musical father than she thought.

There's a lot in this book and that summary doesn't even do it justice--father/daughter issues; mother/daughter issues; friendship; self-esteem; drugs. There are loads of issues but it doesn't feel overwhelming or preachy. Although the issues are serious, it's a fun read. Katy is a likeable character even when she's not being so likeable. Katy's Dad, "the Rat", tries so hard to be a good dad and make up for lost time. He's funny and charming and a really good guy but it takes Katy the whole summer to figure it out. Beige is a quick read and well-worth it!

On My Nightstand:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dramarama--E. Lockhart

Title: Dramarama
Author: E. Lockhart
Pages: 311 p.
Publisher: Hyperion
ISBN: 9780786838158

Sarah is somewhat of an outcast at school until she auditions for a summer program at a musical theater school and decides to reinvent herself as Sadye. She meets Demi, a black gay boy, at the audition and they instantly become best friends. They both get in the program and look forward to having a wonderful summer making it "big." But when Demi is more successful and talented than Sadye turns out to be, their friendship is put to the test.

I have no experience with musical theater and I'm not a big fan of musicals and Broadway and all that jazz and I LOVED this book. Even though Sadye does whine a bit at times, I still liked her character and I wanted her to succeed. I liked her unorthodox friendship with Demi and how Lockhart was not afraid to talk about both the racial and homosexual issues between them. It was a nice satisfying read and well worth having had to stay up late to finish reading it when I have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to take care of children.

On My Nightstand:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List--Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Title: Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
Author: Cohn, Rachel and David Levithan
Pages: 230 p.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

The authors of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist are at it again with Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List. Clearly, they like long titles, but I guess when you have two authors they each need to get the same number of words...

Straight girl Naomi and gay boy Ely are best friends. As close as siblings, if not closer, they have been together their entire lives through the good and bad times. Naomi's Dad had an affair with one of Ely's moms and they kept their friendship strong even through that. In order to remove any potential for conflict they created a No Kiss List--a list of people that neither one could kiss. It works well until Ely breaks the rules and kisses Naomi's boyfriend.

The kiss is just the catalyst that Naomi needs to reexamine her relationship--with Ely, not with Bruce the Second (her boyfriend). She finally admits that she has always wanted more with Ely than he could give her and that she needs to have an identity outside of him. The friendship is forever changed.

Cohen and Levithan have already proven that they can write well together. This book is further proof. Naomi and Ely are both interesting, complex people that I wanted to read more about. I'm not sure how this one was written; the point of view changed with each chapter but there were more than just the two main characters. I'm not sure who wrote which section and that's the mark of a great writing partnership. I look forward to their next collaboration!

As with Playlist, there are f-bombs and adult situations. Naomi and Ely are both in college and there's plenty of dorm-room shenanigans. I would keep this one for the high school teens.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy--Ally Carter

Sequel to I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, this one is not *quite* as fun, but it's still entertaining and definitely leaves you wanting to read more stories. There's romance, spy-stuff, and loads of references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There was one sentence with both Buffy AND Veronica Mars and my head almost exploded! Lots of girl power. Good book.

On My Nightstand:

The Dead and the Gone--Susan Beth Pfeffer

This is a companion story to Life as We Knew It. It takes place in NYC, harder hit because of being on the coast, but better off in some ways because it's a city and not as remote as the country towns of Pennsylvania. Pfeffer manages to create another compelling story instead of just retelling the same events happening to different people. It's not necessary to read LAWKI, because it's not a sequel at all, but it makes it more interesting. I would recommend it to fans of LAWKI as well as people looking for a good "the world is ending" book.

On My Nightstand:

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You--Ally Carter

Loved this book! This was just the right amount of fluff with substance that I needed. It's "romance" but there's enough adventure and other stuff in there to keep me interested. It takes place at an all-girls spy school. How cool is that? You can find a summary on Amazon. I don't have the time to write it out for you. I would definitely recommend it! Great read.

On My Nightstand:

Eclipse--Stephenie Meyer

I read this a while ago and just forgot to blog about it, because well, I forget things now. And have very little time. It's amazing how much time 2 children can eat up.

I can't even give a proper summary or review. Criminy. I liked it, not as much as Twilight. I don't like how it's turned into a straight-up romance instead of the vampire story I liked. I don't really like Jacob.... and Bella has become a bit of a twit. I just wanted to slap her.

I guess it sounds like I didn't like it... but I did enjoy reading it. I swear.

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