Friday, July 29, 2011

Bones of Faerie

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
Publication Date: January 27, 2009
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 247
Format Read: library book

Summary: The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so fifteen-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza's world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Corn resists being harvested; dandelions have thorns. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Still, Liza feels safe. Her father is strong and has protected their town by laying down strict rules. Among them: Any trace of magic must be destroyed, no matter where it is found. Then Liza's sister is born with faerie-pale hair, clear as glass, and Liza's father leaves the baby on a hillside to die. When her mother disappears into the forest and Liza herself discovers she has the faerie ability to See — into the past, into the future — she has no choice but to flee. Liza's quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.

I could not get interested in this book. The premise seems interesting enough, but Simner plants you in the book so that you feel like you missed the prequel. This did not feel like the first book at all, and I found myself asking so many questions. I couldn't figure out where the magic came from, why there was a great war between humans and faeries, or why magic was so dangerous. In addition, I couldn't figure out why magic was only thought deadly by some towns and not others. I was left asking too many questions to focus on the actual plot of the book, which wasn't even super great to begin with.

I felt like this story should be geared more towards the 10 - 12 age group. It did not seem like older teens should be reading it at all, really. The writing was very simplistic, and I flew through the story, even as disinterested as I was. There was never a dull moment, but this, to me, was a bad thing. Every page I flipped Liza was being attacked by one thing or another. It was exhausting. And also very unlikely, even with the feud between the worlds. 

I was just so confused through the whole book, it seems difficult to review. I really just did not like this, and I know others did after reading lots of reviews, but I couldn't get into it, which frustrated me. Seems like an interesting concept for a story, but I did not enjoy the way it was told.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 402
Keywords: divorce, love, moving
Format Read: library book

Another town? Another new school? Mclean really doesn't mind. In fact, she welcomes the chance to try on a new persona. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, she and her father have been on the move, leaving the unhappy past behind them. And each move has brought a fresh opportunity for Mclean to reinvent herself. Perky rah-rah girl. Drama mama. All-round joiner. But here in Lakeview, for the first time she's putting down roots, making friends, and just trying to be someone she hasn't been in a long time: herself. Dave has something to do with it. He's the most real person Mclean's ever met, and he thinks he's fallen in love with the real Mclean. Mclean doesn't even know who that is anymore, but she wants to find out -- before it's time to move on again. 

I always enjoy Sarah Dessen's books. So this was pretty much a given that I'd say I at least liked it. And I did. Though, going back and reading the little synopsis that's in the front of the book, I'd say that it doesn't really explain the novel. To begin with, Dave falling in love with Mclean isn't really mentioned until the last eighth of the book. I never read these before I start a book because I want to go in with a fresh slate, and frankly, I'm glad I didn't.

However, though the story didn't really match up with the synopsis, I did really enjoy it. Mclean was an interesting enough character, though the whole moving-around-a-lot thing has been done a lot. The aspect of the story that I really liked was that her dad was a chef, so he moved to different restaurants. I loved the restaurant called Luna Blu and all its workers. Those characters, in my opinion, made the story better. I also loved how a few mentions of people from Along for the Ride made it in. I love when authors tie in characters all over the place. It makes me happy!

I also really liked how the friends Mclean made gathered at the restaurant to help out on a community service project one of the cooks volunteered for to keep their parking lot. It seemed like a really interesting way to kind of hold the whole story together, and it was a centrally located meeting place.

Mclean was an okay character, but she did annoy me in some ways. I didn't like how she changed personas. It's really not that easy to just change who you truly are, and I don't think she could have fully done so. In addition, she had different social network pages for all the different "people" she'd been, and I didn't like how big of a deal it was when her friends found out. This truly was not a big deal to me. They knew she moved all over the place, and they knew that she was probably going to move again, so I don't understand why they freaked out when they saw the different pages.
Nonetheless, I still liked this book regardless of a few weird details. A pretty fun summer read over all!

Friday, July 22, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

This IMM is being done since I've been at camp. So the following are everything I've gotten since my last IMM post. And, as always, IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren! All the titles are linked to Goodreads!

8. Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

It was a wonderful period of time as far as books go, and I think I'm the most excited to read And Then Things Fall Apart (it was a surprise, and I LOVE surprises!)

Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 348
Keywords: sisters, mystery, murder
Format Read: library book

Summary: Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. After a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers a dead body floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away — away from home, away from Ruby. But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home at last, she finds a precarious and deadly balance waiting for her. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

I wanted to like this book. I really did. Even before I wrote this I read tons of reviews and saw way more good ones than bad ones. I love the cover. It is truly mesmerizing. That is the only thing that is captivating about this book. Ruby and Chloe had an odd relationship. I've never had a sister, so I don't know how that works, but it still seemed very odd that even as a free-thinking teenager Chloe still did absolutely EVERYTHING her sister told her to do. She never talked back, she never questioned, she just did. I hated that. I wanted Chloe to develop as a character. Even towards the end, she continued to listen to her sister. It just baffled me.

I hated Ruby. Absolutely HATED her. I thought she was a horrible person, not caring for anyone but Chloe, seemingly. And she didn't even act like she liked her own sister at certain points, which really bothered me. This story started out as a contemporary-mystery sort of novel, but turned to a paranormal one halfway through, as we were introduced to an underwater city and people that should be dead but weren't. And Ruby was at the heart of it. My problem with this part was that there wasn't enough told about ANY of the above situations. I had no idea why Ruby possessed this power or where she got it or how it worked. I had no idea what the underwater city of Olive truly was or why they needed people that were supposed to be dead but weren't or why it was so special really. And I began to figure a few things out by the last chapter, but it definitely was NOT enough. I was just thoroughly frustrated that I was left to figure out or guess at so much in this book. It seemed as though nothing was explained, and no one developed throughout the story, and nothing really changed.

I was upset that this week at camp, on my very limited time away from the kids, I wasted it on a novel I was really hoping was going to blow all others out of the way. I was mistaken.

Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Publication Date: September 21, 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 391
Keywords: paranormal, demons, angels
Format Read: library book

When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora's defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she's thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? As their connection grows stronger, Nota's own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

I really like it when a book immediately grasps my attention and doesn't let go until I flip the back cover shut. Unfortunately, this did not do that. It took me about 150 pages to begin to like the book and care what happened to the characters. The reason, I think, why it took me so long was because the author didn't let the reader know what was going on at all. I'm all for some suspense, but up until three-quarters of the way through the book, I had no idea what kind of paranormal workings existed within this world. It was very odd being kept in the dark for so long, and I did not like it. However, by the end, the author had me guessing at who was dangerous and who was not. I honestly had no clue whatsoever who to trust, which was a major advantage for this book.

As far as I was concerned about the characters...I really wasn't. I didn't really care for Patch. He was supposed to be a rebel sort of fellow and have some sex appeal draw to him, but he was really just an ass to Nora through the whole book. Not even one that was a teensy bit kind to her. I really just hated his manor for communicating and generally being around Nora. As for Nora, she did not make very good decisions. She was the character in the horror movie that goes into the haunted house alone at night, or the one that doesn't wake the others and investigates the loud noise alone. She was really quite stupid, and she didn't make actual human decisions, simply staying a character in a story. I suppose this is fine, but I love when the characters come to life, and these really did not.

Not a great book, but if you're really REALLY into paranormal stuff and don't mind characters that are only so-so, you could like it. The last 80 pages or so were entertaining. Other than that, it really wasn't worth my time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Six Rules of Maybe

The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti (web | tweet)
Publication Date: March 16, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 336
Keywords: pregnancy, sisters, summer
Format Read: Hardcover from publisher (thank you!)
Get It: barnes and noble | amazon | indiebound

Summary: Scarlet spends most of her time worrying about other people. Some are her friends, others are practically strangers, and then there are the ones no one else even notices. Trying to fix their lives comes naturally to her. And pushing her own needs to the side is part of the deal. So when her older sister comes home unexpectedly married and pregnant, Scarlet has a new person to worry about. But all of her good intentions are shattered when the unthinkable happens: She falls for her sister's husband. For the first time in a long time, Scarlet's not fixing a problem, she's at the center of one. And ignoring her feelings doesn't seem to be an option...

I received this book a while ago, and I was hesitant to begin it because the last book I read by Caletti did not impress me. This book changed my opinion of her writing entirely. It was an odd sort of writing. The first thing I noticed about it was that it was choppy, and Scarlet's thoughts seemed random and quick. But the strange thing was, it worked. The words flowed so well together, I could not put this down because there was never a good stopping place. I love books like that. Everything just fit and I could not stop reading.

I hated Juliet, Scarlet's sister. But I suppose I was supposed to hate her. She had the perfect husband who was willing to give her anything, and she ignored him. However, I did not like the fact that Scarlet began to have feelings for Hayden, the husband. There was a perfect other boy she could have liked, and I'm not sure why she chose to fall for Hayden, though he was an extremely lovable person. Though I suppose this is how I was supposed to feel, and Caletti did an excellent job at making me want to hit Juliet in the face and give Hayden a big hug because he's such a sweet person.

My favorite character, however, was Zeus. This was Hayden's dog. For some reason, there was so much character in this dog. And one line from the book really stuck out to me that Hayden said:
"'I'm positive that the world is made up of those who apologize to dogs and those that don't.'"
I loved this line, and from then on, I was in love with the idiotic dog called Zeus. Probably because I had an idiotic dog who was large but thought he was small — he died about three weeks ago of liver cancer. Zeus just reminded me so much of my dog, and that's why I believe I fell in love with him.

As far as the rest of the story goes, there wasn't really a giant climactic point or a giant problem to solve, but miraculously, it still seamlessly flowed together, and I still really enjoyed it.

Read When: You are ready for a fun read in the summer time but need a little more substance and plot line that "girl-meets-boy-the-end."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Contest: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Ready to win a hardcover copy of Moonglass by Jessi Kirby? Well I've got one to give away! Basic contest, just use the entry form below! Must live in the US or have a US shipping address (sorry! I don't ship internationally!) and the contest ends on August 10!

Read my review of Moonglass!

Good luck!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: June 16, 2009
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 383
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)

Summary: Riding a bike is only one of the many things Auden's missed out on. Even before her parents' divorce, she was cast in the role of little adult, never making waves, focusing on academics to please her demanding mother. That was when she stopped sleeping at night. Now she's spending the summer before college in the tiny beach town of Colby, with her father and his new wife and baby. A job in a trendy boutique introduces her to the world of girls, their friendships, conversations, and romances. And then there's Eli, an intriguing loner. A former star on a bike circuit and a fellow insomniac, Eli introduces Auden to the nocturnal world of Colby. Together they embark on a quest: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she's been denied; for Eli, to put a tragic episode behind him. Combine two lonely people with a charming beach town and an endless supply of long summer nights, and just about anything can happen.

After reading several mediocre books, I was frustrated and knew I could count on Sarah Dessen to make me happy about reading summer books again. As always, she did no disappoint. I really related to Auden very well, because I had a very similar high school experience. So from the very beginning, I felt closer to Auden and was actually interested in her well-being (though I DO know how to ride a bike).  I also loved that she developed throughout the course of the book, like a true character should. She was definitely a different person by the end of the novel. I also loved her relationship with Thisbe, her new baby sister. Heidi, Auden's father's new wife, was having trouble keeping Thisbe calm. Auden started to learn to love her new family additions and really grew in that sense as well.

I also like Eli, though not as much as some of Dessen's other male protagonists. The tragedy behind his personality was kind of cool, but not so intensely gripping that it defined his character. I loved that he was an insomniac. That was the part of his character that I truly enjoyed. It seemed that he was adventurous and he was interested in making Auden's life experiences better. The fact that he rode bikes was also really intriguing, but I would have liked it if it were explained more in detail. The few mentions of jumping and doing tricks on bikes often weren't even associated with Eli, as I was hoping they were.

There was also a great sense of surprise to Auden in the novel. She made assumptions about people and the summer in general, but soon found out that things were not always as they seem. Some parts also surprised me, but not so much that I was utterly shocked. As far as the novel goes in general, I really enjoyed it, which is probably why I made it through in about a day and a half! A lovely summer read!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Whirligig by Paul Fleischman
Publication Date: November 9, 1999
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Pages: 144
Format Read: paperback from publisher (thank you!)

Summary: Brent Bishop is sent on a journey of repentance — a cross-country trip building whirligigs. His wind toys are found by people in need: a Maine schoolgirl yearning for her first love, a Miami street-sweeper desperate for peace and quiet, a kid in Washington who just wants to play baseball, and a San Diego teenager dealing with loss. Brent's whirligigs bring hope to others, but will they be able to heal the wounds deep inside himself?

If I was grading this book on the cover, it would receive top marks, no questions asked. I absolutely love the cover. It is stunning, and it says so much about the book. Sadly, the book did not live up to what the cover seems to say about the novel. Before I began, I imagined that I would connect deeply with Brent, understanding the point of his cross-country journey of discovery and repentance. I also thought I would be intrigued by the side stories that accompanied Brent's whirligigs.

However, I was disappointed. While the idea for the story seemed solid and like a good place to start, I did not like Brent at all, which made reading the novel pretty difficult. There wasn't enough depth to him for me to really get to know him, which bothered me. I couldn't understand why he had done the things he did to end up on the journey in the first place. I also didn't understand why he built the whirligigs he did, though the author hinted that Brent gave it a lot of thought. However, the reader wasn't able to see this thought. That was the real issue I believe. It seemed that Brent had great intentions and meaning behind everything he did, but it wasn't ever conveyed, leaving me very confused about some of the decisions he made.

In addition, the smaller stories about the people that found the whirligigs were disappointing as well. They also lacked depth, but the thing that really bothered me was that they were out of order. Now, maybe this was on purpose, but I wanted the stories to follow Brent's story of that particular place he built the whirligig. It was very confusing having to figure out that Brent was in Washington, but now we're talking about a girl in Maine, and we haven't even seen Brent build this whirligig yet. This was a problem because we then did not know the meaning behind that particular whirligig or why it was there or what Brent went through to put it there (an example of the lack of conveying ideas to the reader).

While I thought this could have been a brilliant story, this did nothing for me, and I found it very hard tot read even though it's a very small book at 133 pages. Not my favorite, sadly.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Leaving Unknown

Leaving Unknown by Kerry Reichs
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Format Read: paperback from publisher (thank you!)

Summary: Sweetlips, Tennessee...Toad Suck, Arkansas...Okay, Oklahoma...Truth or Consequences, New Mexico...
Maeve Connelly's epic road trip is taking her through every colorfully named tiny town in America on her way to the far less imaginatively named Los Angeles, California. With her foulmouthed cockatiel, Oliver, her only companion, Maeve's heading way off the beaten track with little money and a load of painful baggage she wants to leave behind. But when her beloved rattletrap, "Elsie," breaks down outs Unknown, Arizona, she finds herself taking a much longer rest stop than she'd anticipated. 
The only mechanic in the vicinity is on an indefinite walkabout, so Maeve's in for the long haul — and she'll need to find two jobs to pay for Elsie's eventual repair. But she's starting to feel strangely at home among the quirky denizens of Unknown — especially around her new bookstore owner boss — so Maeve is seriously considering saying goodbye to Hollywood for good...if she can keep her past troubles from coming to light. 

Though my first impression of this book was that there was really no plot, I was still strangely interested in the book and what happened to its characters. Maeve was a unique woman. She was very dramatic, and at times this annoyed me. About midway through the book, the plot took a very unexpected twist, but I was irked by Maeve's reaction. While it was a big revelation and a huge surprise, she still reacted in a way that was way too overdone.

In a way, almost all of the characters were this way. I liked them, but they all were too...something. Too dramatic and too over-the-top. In Unknown, Maeve begins to work at a bookstore run by a man named Noah. I enjoyed his character and the subtleness about him. However, when anything starts to take a turn for the worse, Noah becomes just like Maeve and has a very unnecessary dramatic reaction.

As far as the storyline itself, I enjoyed it. It was a getting-to-know-oneself journey, and I thought it fit Maeve very well. She needed the journey, but I just didn't like the way her character reacted to situations. Overall, this was a mediocre book. Not exceptional, but not terrible either.