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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

X-Isle by Steve Augarde

Title: X-Isle
Author: Steve Augarde
ISBN: 9780385751933
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Page #: 477
Source: From my public library

"In the fight for survival, anything goes.

The floods have come. Some are lucky to be alive. Though they might not count themselves lucky. In the aftermath of global devastation, those left barely survive, living in fear and near starvation. They have lost everything, including their future.

But there is one way out: a boat to X-Isle.

And Baz is about to take it.

A hard-hitting novel set in a world where there are no boundaries, and normality is just a word."
First Lines:

"The steady chug of the diesel engine drew closer, and eventually the salvage boat emerged from the mist, a blank grey shape steering a middle course between the ghostly lines of chimney stacks that rose from the water. It turned right and came sailing up John William Street."
Page 7

I was clearly not prepared for this book. It was a crazy story that just kept getting more and more intense by the page... and it honestly didn't let me go - and still hasn't. The ending is ... well, I'll get to that (without giving anything away, of course).

This is a science-fiction post-apocalyptic novel that paints a very rugged picture. I mean, the earth is basically covered in water, but it's the descriptions are just amazingly graphic. If you think about what would really happen if the earth flooded... you would have bodies, you would have so much floating garbage that the water would be sludge. That's exactly how things are pictured in this book. Those left are the ones dealing with the unlivable situation - the ones suffering.

If you can imagine all of that, then you can imagine that anyone who is able to dive in and get stores of salvagable food, tools, etc would be the richest guys around. In this story, those guys took on young boys to do the grunt work. That's who this story is about - the boys and an island and an insane preacher dude who was head of this island.

It took me ages to finish this book. I think it was partially due to the graphic descriptions - the gory stuff... the intensely horrible people... and so on. I as entranced by the story, but there were lots of situations and characters to outright hate. The one thing that really stood out for me was the relationships these boys formed under bad circumstances - and how those relationships were handled. An amazing story, really.

I just need to talk about the ending for a second... not giving anything away, I promise. But I'm still floored by it. The last few chapters held a twist that I could not have possibly foreseen. It's one that makes you want to re-read the whole book with a new set of eyes... a new perspective. It is almost a twist that changes the entire story... I'm going to stop there. It's just worth getting to. Whole new light...

Anyway, I really did like this book. There's a lot to discuss about it - mostly because there are lots of moral issues with the whole religion thing... and deaths... and the earth becoming water and all that. Honestly, you can probably read a whole lot of religion into this story whether it's meant to be there or not. I liked ignoring that a little bit and reading the story for face value - but that's just how I chose to go about it.

I think I will be recommending this book to a very specific group of people. I think it is written well and has lots of amazing plot lines.... I just wonder if all of the gore and the dying and the few angering characters would put some people off of the whole thing. But I still plan on recommending it.

I hadn't heard of this author before, but apparently he's done lots of children's books in the past - and pop-up books! Here's his website if you wanna check him out.
Other Blog Reviews:

Fantasy Book Review
Book Page
Curled Up Kids
I didn't see a ton of blog reviews out there for this one, so more people should give it a go! It's a crazy story, but it's worth a shot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Booking Through Thursday (3)

Welcome to another weekly meme! Check out the website and answer the questions yourself!

What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it?
(And, by all means, discuss everything, if you’re reading more than one thing!)

I am currently reading the book X-Isle by Steve Augarde. I picked it up because I always am looking for a good post-apocalyptic novel. I had heard a few good things about this book, so I'm excited to see where it takes me.

I'm only a few chapters in so far (though it's going faster than I expected)... but it's action packed already. I'm still trying to work out all of the specifics of what happened to the world for everything to be under water (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc). It's intense already and I can only imagine where it's going to go from here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci

Title: Rose Sees Red
Author: Cecil Castellucci
ISBN: 9780545060790
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page #: 197
Source: From my public library

"Rose has given up. She's given up on friendship, on happiness, on life being anything other than black black black.

Yrena wants out. She's a dancer who doesn't want to dance, a prisoner in her own home, a resident of New York who never gets to see the city.

To Rose, Yrena has always been the Russian girl who lives next door, seen through a window but never spoken to. At least not until Yrena crashes into Rose's room, setting in motion a night in New York City that neither one of them will ever forget.

From YA superstar Cecil Castellucci, this is the story of cold hearts and cold wars warmed by simple human connection and the liberty of being young and free in the early hours of a new day.

Rose's life is about to change in ways she never could have seen in the darkness."
First Lines:

"I was black inside and so I took everything black. Toast. Coffee. Clothes. Heart.
It was the end of October, and a few leaves were still clinging on the trees, all bright yellow, red, and orange. These leaves were suckers, I thought, tricking themselves in thinking this fall would be different, that they wouldn't have to let go and turn brown and make room for snow."
Page 1

Correct me if I'm wrong, but not many books for teens about the 1980s or the Cold War. That alone made this book unique and sort of refreshing. I've read several of Castellucci's books in the past and they are always much more than I was expecting. This book was no different.

I really enjoyed getting to know Rose through the first part of the book. You get the whole feel of who she is, how she sees the world, what her life is like... and it's a picture that not many of us would want to live. It's lonely, it's sad, it's worrisome. And, to be honest, it's real. I know a lot of teens feel this way - like they're alone in the world with no one to turn to. I'm pretty sure I spent a while in that mindset when I was a teen.

Her whole story changes when she meets Yrena - a girl from Russia who has lived next door for two years but never spoken. The girls are both dancers, but they had never connected before. This book is about that one day where they start to get to know each other, but it's the night of a lifetime.

There are some stories that take place in a short amount of time (like this one, a day), but it seems like too much is packed in to be reality. This book really feels like it could have happened. It feels more like a story being told to you by Rose a few years later - her looking back on this magical night and how it completely changed her life.

One thing that kinda threw me off while reading this book was the emphasis on the war and the differences in the countries. I guess I wasn't expecting the characters to have such huge opinions and things to say about it. The story started off feeling like a small story about a life that didn't affect anyone elses... and it ended up having a huge impact on a group of people.

In the end, I really wanted this book to be more about relationships than it was about the political stuff... but it was pretty swayed in the other direction. I also was wishing to know more about what happened afterwards - about her family's reactions... more about how friendships were continued... just more. Guess that's what I get for reading a small book, huh? :)

Though this book is short, it sure packs a punch. I think many who love realistic fiction will really dig this one. There's a lot to learn about humanity in it - not to mention the life of a girl who was so in the background. It's a little bit of an adventure - the carefree lives of teens who are just getting to know one another.

I'd recommend this one to those realistic lovers. And even a little to historical - seeing as it was set over 20 years ago. I always look forward to reading more from Cecil Castellucci. Who knows what will come next, right? Check out her website for more things coming :). She also has a fairly active blog that you should check out from there.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Compulsive Reader
Pure Imagination
Emily's Reading Room
Abby (the) Librarian
Reading Nook

Waiting on Wednesday (27)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Belle of the Brawl (Alphas #3)
by Lisi Harrison
To be released: October 5, 2010

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"After a week of drama-filled days at the exclusive, fiercely competitive Alpha Academy, Skye, Allie and Charlie learn that someone has been keeping a huge secret from them, in the follow-up to Movers & Fakers."

I know I WoW-ed the second book when it came out earlier this year, but I'm excited to WoW this series again! I've loved each of the books so far and I really look forward to getting my hands on this book. They are such fun and easy reading - super clever too. If you like chick lit, this is a great series for you.

Here are my reviews of the first two books:
Movers and Fakers (Alphas #2)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey)
Author: Julie Kagawa
ISBN: 9780373210138
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page #: 359
Source: From my public library

"Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey - ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart."
First Lines:

"The Iron King stood before me, magnificent in his beauty, silver hair whipping about like an unruly waterfall. His long black coat billowed behind him, accenting the pale, angular face and translucent skin, the blue-green veins glowing beneath the surface."
Page 9

If you haven't read the first book, my review of that one is here. Looking back on that review, I realized how "meh" I sounded about the book. I don't know if this second one was just better or I was more into the story, but this review is going to be a bit more complimentary of the author! :)

This book pulled me in hard during the first few chapters and didn't let me go - even after I finished reading it. It didn't take long to get back into the story line. I'm not sure whether that's because the characters and storyline from the first book stuck with me or she just does a seamless job of connecting the two together.

The story is very similar to the first in that our main character Meghan has a huge quest she sets out on and you see every step of the way and the people she meets along the way. Many of the same characters make an appearance in this book, but are treated differently for their own reasons. That gave the story a little different feel than the first one.

Romance is a huge factor in this book. The first book was really more fantasy and adventure, but this one really sits in the paranormal romance genre. That's not a bad thing in the least, I'm just not sure that I was expecting it. One thing seemed to happen once Meghan was focused on her feelings... she turned into a bit of a wuss. I spent a few chapters wishing she would break out of the dreary and just fight! Though, i have to say that the fights/battles are epic in this one.

I still love the whole concept of the iron courts existence and how it's moving in to take over the other courts. It's a cool idea and it works really well with how things could be. I was also very shocked at the ending - like the last few chapters, really. I'm not going to give anything away, but it was just much more than I was expecting.

Take a look at Julie Kagawa's website and keep up with her on her blog. The next book, The Iron Queen, is coming out next February (2011)... and I'm very excited. I'll absolutely be picking it up. I honestly think Kagawa is an author to watch. This first series is fantastic, so I can only imagine what she comes up with next!
Other Blog Reviews:

All Things Urban Fantasy
Pure Imagination
Karin's Book Nook
Katie's Book Blog
Stiletto Storytime
The Sweet Bookshelf
Reading Teen
There are tons more reviews out there. Please take a look at all of them! It'll give you a good idea of how this story runs :).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gunnerkrigg Court by Thomas Siddell

Title: Gunnerkrigg Court: Volumes 1 &2: Orientation and Research
Author: Thomas Siddell
ISBN(s): (1) 9781932386349; (2) 9781932386776
Publisher: Archaia Studios Press
Page #s: (1) 292; (2) 252
Source: From my public library

Summary: (#1)
"Antimony Carver is a precocious and preternaturally self-possessed young girl starting her first year of school at gloomy GunnerKrigg Court, a very British boarding school that has robots running around along side body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature.

The opening volume in the series follows Antimony through her orientation year: the people she meets, the strange things that happen, and the things she causes to happen as she and her new friend, Kat, unravel the mysteries of the Court and deal with the every day adventures of growing up.

Tom Siddell's popular and award-winning webcomic (www.gunnerkrigg.com) is here collected in print for the first time."
First Lines:

"Gunnerkrigg Court does not look much like a school at all. It closer resembles a large industrial complex than a place of learning. Within the first week of my attendance, I began noticing a number of strange occurences. The most prevalent of these oddities being the fact that I seemed to have obtained a second shadow."
Page 2
Summary: (#2)
(same first paragraph as summary #1)

"Finding a secret tomb of ancient robots beneath Kat's workshop leads the two friends to question how they are linked to the mysterious ghost that attacked Annie the year before. And as a new Medium In Training, Annie is able to visit the powerful trickster god Coyote in Gillitie Forest, a visit that reveals more than she ever imagined possible. Parts of Annie's past are revealed, as well as mysteries hat tie back to the origins of the Court itself, in this sequel to Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation, Gold Medal winner of FoWord Magazine's 2008 Graphic Novel of the Year Award."
First Lines:

"Throught the summer I realised the similarities between Gunnerkrigg Court and Good Hope, the hospital in which I used to live."
Page 2

So.... I loved these books. The reason I picked them up is because of the art as I flipped through. I've read so many graphic novels that either use very little color or even just black and white. While these are just fine for many books, I was completely drawn in to the bright, vivid colors in this book.

I'm so glad I picked them up too, because the story was just as fun as the colors. I honestly didn't have any ideas about what the story would be like, so that it turned out to be a sci-fi/fantasy/mythological wonderfulness... well, that was just lucky. Completely in my wheelhouse. It's a fun story about a girl starting at a boarding school where things are not as they always seem.

I didn't realize it was a webcomic until I had finished the first book and looked into the second. Luckily, I had already checked that one out. But if you want to read the whole thing online, you can! The url is listed above in the summary, but here's a link for you just in case :). There's more beyond the second book that hasn't made it into a book yet. I know these were published a year or two ago... so I'm not sure if it's still being updated. I sure hope so, though. It's wonderful!

If you're into comics, I'd love to hear your opinion on this one. I really loved it and I think others will too. The writing is very clear and you get pulled into the mystery of Annie's story. Little by little, the story unravels and you learn more about her character. It's well done and I can't wait to read the rest of these online.

It was a little silly at times, but I thought it was really cool how they pulled in characters from mythology and ancient stories. It gave this book some depth that I wasn't expecting. But it was a welcome change. Figuring out how the main characters fit in with all of the history at the Court is really interesting.

It's got a little bit of magic, a lot of science, some really fun robots, and more. I think this one will be loved by anyone who gets their hands on it. There really was no point in the story where I felt lost or anything. I loved looking at all of the different landscapes in this little world that was created. I thought it was very interesting how they pulled in new characters throughout the story. Just really clever and fun.
Other Blog Reviews:

Comic Book Resources
Jenny's Books
The Daily Genoshan
Fantasy Book Review
Tita's Playground
Bookslingers! Reviews

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Glee: The Beginning by Sophia Lowell

Title: Glee: The Beginning
Author: Sophia Lowell (based on the series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan)
ISBN: 9780316123594
Publisher: Poppy/ Little Brown and Company
Page #: 216
Source: From my public library

"All great performers deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High - before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr. Schuester's eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn't exactly a perfect melody.

Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: It's time to find out what happened to all of your favorite characters before the show-mance began."
First Lines:

"Rachel Berry paused outside the door to Principal Figgins's office just long enough to straighten her kneesocks and smooth down the sides of her corduroy skirt. Her bright white button-down and pink-and-green argyle sweater-vest seemed to scream overachiever - not that Principal Figgins needed to be reminded that Rachel Berry was special."
Page 1

I can honestly say I've never read a book about a tv show that was written after the show or movie had been released. I've read a lot the other way - Pretty Little Liars, Lord of the Rings, etc. All books before the movies/shows. But this one? This one is written based on the hit tv show. And, I'll be honest, I picked up this book only because I love the show so much.

I wasn't sure how the story was going to pan out. I did realize that it was the before-hand stories before you get to episode one. I figured there would be a lot of territory to cover. There was a lot to love in this book for me - but I'm not sure if it's because of my fan-itude of the show.

I had to stop myself a few times while reading this book and remind myself that this book had to be written for people who haven't seen the tv show. It does a great job setting the stage, showing you the world of McKinley High and describing the characters down to their fashion sense. And I think someone who hasn't watched it will have a good idea about the lives of these characters.

There were a few times that I was sitting back and wondering if we hadn't pulled some topics straight from the first few episodes. I know there had to be some meat to the story, so I let that all go. One thing that I thought was great was the look into the home lives of more of the characters. On the show, you have a few families (and perhaps we will see more of that in the future), but it was very interesting to imagine the family of Mercedes and Artie and all.

I think I recommend this book. I hope my fan-dom isn't standing in the way of my judgment, but I had a lot of fun with this story and I look forward to more books based on this series. I think they are light and fun and easy reads that are perfect during the school year :). Hopefully some other fans will pick this one up and give their opinions.
Other Blog Reviews:

Wondrous Reads
The Beaucoup Review :)
Lavender Lines
Rhiana Reads
So Many Books, So Little Time
Planet Books
Empire of Books

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:
The Latte Rebellion
by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
To be released: January 1, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"When high school senior Asha Jamison gets called a "towel head" at a pool party, the racist insult gives Asha and her best friend Carey a great money-making idea for a post-graduation trip. They'll sell T-shirts promoting the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students.

Seemingly overnight, their "cause" goes viral and the T-shirts become a nationwide fad. As new chapters spring up from coast to coast, Asha realizes that her simple marketing plan has taken on a life of its own-and it's starting to ruin hers. Asha's once-stellar grades begin to slip, threatening her Ivy League dreams, and her friendship with Carey is hanging by a thread. And when the peaceful underground movement turns militant, Asha's school launches a disciplinary hearing.Facing expulsion, Asha must decide how much she's willing to risk for something she truly believes in."

I know this summary is really long, but I think this book sounds very interesting. I think it will have a great spot in YA fiction. I know sometimes books like this can be a bit preachy or something when it comes to race - hopefully this one will bring issues to light that may not have been before. I'm just looking forward to this inspirational book.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Title: Shadow Hills
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
ISBN: 9781606840832
Publisher: Egmont
Page #: 388
Source: From my Public Library

"Since her sister's mysterious death, Persephone 'Phe' Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts - the subject of her sister's final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe realizes that there's something very different about this place - an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach - and somehow she's connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town... might destroy her."
First Lines:

"I had thought nothing could be worse than what they had already done to me, but I was wrong. The silent echo of nothingness filling the windowless chamber was infinitely worse. Not knowing how much time had passed, whether it was day or night. Not knowing when he would come for me."
Page 1

This is a book I picked up because of the many positive reviews I had read about it. I knew it was a debut author and I thought the premise sounded really promising. I'm going to be honest here... I spent the first part of the book comparing it to other stories. Not because of anything other than there were bits that sounded like other things... a bit of cemetery emphasis like in Hush, Hush; The isolated town situation like in the Morganville Vampire series; The boarding school magic thing like many other books; the connection with the ancient like the House of Night series. I dunno, I was just initially worried that this book wouldn't find its own way.

I was relieved when I got beyond all of those comparisons and the story came through. There were still several aspects from other stories, but this book found its own voice. And it was all done with a creepy mystery thrown into the mix. Following Phe as she unraveled the many mysteries of this town and the people who live there was an interesting journey. I think I was left with a couple of questions in the end, but the author did a good job getting all the important bits in there.

One thing I thought was really cool was the emphasis on different types of music. It almost had nothing to do with the story itself, but it gave a common thread throughout the book without it being overdone. I was also kinda proud of myself because of the number of bands that I knew. There were a few that I hopped on iTunes to find out, but it was a really cool undercurrent of the story.

I think anyone into the paranormal romance genre will love this book. I think it fits right into all of those books/series' that I mentioned before. Perhaps it started out a bit rocky for me, but it was insanely cool at the end. I will be recommending this to many of my girls who are looking for a bit of creepy mystery tossed in with their romance. It's well done and I look forward to more things from this author.

Speaking of the author, check out her website here. I don't see any next projects mentioned, but I do wonder if she will set another book in this town. I would definitely be interested in that. We'll see, I guess... huh?
Other Blog Reviews:

The Crooked Shelf
Library Lounge Lizard
The Neverending Shelf
Book Crazy
Presenting Lenore
Pure Imagination
Late Bloomer Online
There are tons of other blog reviews out there. I suggest you look around a bit. The reviews are a little mixed on this one. But good luck! :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Title: The Grimm Legacy
Author: Polly Shulman
ISBN: 9780399250965
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Page #: 325
Source: From my Library

"Lonely at her new school, Elizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, hoping to make new friends as well as some cash. The repository is no ordinary library. It lends out objects rather than books - everything from tea sets and hockey sticks to Marie Antoinette's everyday wig.

It's also home to the Grimm Collection, a secret room in the basement. That's where powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales are locked away: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White's step-mother's sinister mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own.

When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before they're accused of the crime themselves - or the thief captures them."
First Lines:

"Snow fell hard: big, sticky flakes that got under my coat collar where the top button was missing. The weather had delayed my subway, and I was worried I would be late for class."
Page 1

This was absolutely a case of picking up a book simply because of its cover. Isn't it really cool?! I thought it was amazing, so I purchased it for my library and took it out as soon as we got it. Luckily, this was a situation where it actually paid off for me to pick this one up :).

What a fun story! It's all about a girl getting a job in a repository - aka library. I mean, how could I not like it! I mean, the whole description of the pneumatic tubes, organization system, all of that... it just made me smile. But that's probably just my lame-o librarian self. I also really enjoyed some of the descriptions of the librarians - especially when they're super-typical. :)

This has a great portion of mystery thrown in with all of the magic. The magic stuff is mostly centered around the Grimm stories. I won't lie, this book made me wish I knew all of the fairy tales - I know a lot of them, but this book referenced a few I had never heard of. But I really like how the mystery unfolded... the mystery of the disappearing objects. I was really worried through the first part of the story that I was going to figure it out too quickly, but really I was off track a bit. It was very rewarding.

I think this book fits so well in both mystery and fantasy categories, I would give it to either genre-lover. A fun story that I know many people will enjoy. There's only one bit that I wish I could have changed - the main character, Elizabeth, spent her entire first introduction to the repository worried about the Grimm Collection. Everything related back to it. Everything was about it (even when it wasn't). On and on. But that's not something that ruined the story or anything - just enough to irritate me a little bit.

Very recommended. I think a lot of people will enjoy this one. Everyone remembers being told fairy tales at one point or another - and this does a great job bringing those back in a new and interesting way. Check out the author's website and look at all the other great books she has to offer! This one was a great read :).
Other Blog Reviews:

The BookKids Blog
Abby (the) Librarian
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
The Patchwork of Books
Book Aunt
Stories & Sweeties

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:
Last Sacrifice: a Vampire Academy Novel
by Richelle Mead
To be Release: December 7, 2010

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them."

I know a lot of people have listed this book for their WoW picks. So I'm adding mine to the list. I'm so excited for this conclusion! I've loved the rest of the series and the last book left me really wondering what was going to happen. If you haven't read the Vampire Academy series yet, then you're really missing out. :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pretty Tough by Liz Tigelaar

Title: Pretty Tough
Author: Liz Tigelaar
ISBN: 9781595141125
Publisher: Razorbill
Page #: 246
Source: From My Library

"Charlie: My older sister Krista and I used to be friends. We'd hang out, go to the beach together. Krista watched me while I surfed. I couldn't wait to go to high school.

But now? Everything has changed. Krista is perky, popular, and pathetic. All she cares about are designer clothes, her fake friend Brooks, her boyfriend Cam, and her image as the most perfect girl in school.

Straight-A student, star athlete - when I stand next to her, I might as well be invisible! But this year, I've been recruited to Krista's soccer team. Shin guards? Twelve dollars. Uniform? Thirty five bucks. The look on Krista's face when she finds out I'm playing? Priceless.

Krista: My sister Charlie is a total freak. She thinks she''s some kind of surf-girl rebel. But the truth is, she's just mean. That's why she has no friends.

Charlie is always giving me a hard time. She has no idea what my life is like! Between Brooks critiquing my outfits, and Cam pressuring me, I feel like I'm going to lose it!

Now, Charlie's joining the soccer team. My soccer team. And I'm supposed to be captain this year. She doesn't even care about soccer. She's just doing it for the same reason she does everything - to be a brat. Well, if she thinks she can beat me at my own game, she's got another thing coming."
First Lines:

"For nearly twenty seconds, Charlie was convinced she was dead. Strangely, the thought didn't sound half bad. With her sophomore year of high school looming on the horizon, she'd already come to the conclusion that her first fifteen years on the planet were a bust...
And yes, a lot of that had to do with her name."

Page 1

I do realize that the summary is amazingly long. I guess they just wanted you to get a sense of the two main characters before you opened the book. The story is told from their two perspectives, so I suppose it makes sense.

This was such a fun book! Of course, I tend to have a soft spot for soccer stories. I have no idea why that is - it's not like I've ever played it. But I love movies and all that involving this sport. This book is no exception. I don't think that's the reason I liked this book so much. I think it was mostly the wonderful writing and interesting story that pulled me right in.

I know some people don't enjoy reading from different points of view within one book. I really didn't have any issues with it in this one. It always made sense when the speaker changed. And there was so much going on with both of the girls, you almost have to get their entire story. I loved the sisters. It felt like a real relationship and normal sibling rivalry... but with some extra umph thrown in. They are both characters that I feel like I've met before.

The setting itself was interesting because of the beach, the soccer field, the school, the other parts of town... they were all just so well described and so fun that it kept the story very fluid. There's also the amount of drama that kept the story moving along - there were so many things that went into the relationships of the sisters. But you really end up loving them both without too much difficulty.

I know this book was published a few years ago, but I'm going to recommend it and say it was totally worth getting. It's a fun, quick, sisterly story that gives you a case of the "aww"s :). I loved it. I think there's a book after this one, so I'm going to see about getting it. Oh! I just looked it up - it's a companion novel with the same setting, but about a girl playing football. I'm so there.

I wish I could find a website for this author, because she's definitely got a great talent for the realistic teen romances. I know I'll be watching for more from her! Dude, she writes for a tv show?!? I'm gonna have to investigate.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Compulsive Reader
flamingnet young adult book blog
PaperBack Swap
The Book Reader

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Fill-In (24)

Friday Fill-Ins is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. Family all lives too far away. I need to remedy that.

2. It costs a lot of money to travel back and forth.

3. I love a three day weekend! ahhhh.

4. Pasta always makes a good meal.

5. I've got the three day weekend jitters.

6. Apparently there's some huge hurricane coming!: wth!!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a quiet evening of reading, tomorrow my plans include watching that old movie Gidget! and Sunday, I want to relax and sleep in!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clover by CLAMP

Title: Clover
Author: CLAMP
ISBN: 9781595821966
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Page #: 508
Source: From My Library

"Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded, black-ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech world - pulled out of retirement to escort Sue, a mysterious waif, to a destination she alone knows. Sue and Kazuhiko have never met... yet she knows him, having grown up since the age of four with her only human contact being two distant voices: that of her elderly 'grandma' - Kazuhiko's commander, General Ko; and that of Kazuhiko's dead girlfriend, the beautiful singer Ora.

And Sue has been kept in that cage all these years because of what she is, and what the Clover Leaf Project found her to be: a military top secret... and the most dangerous person in the world."
First Lines:

"'Forget it. I'm a civilian now. There's no reason to work for the government.' 'Oh, but there is. When you were court-martialed, how many times to you think we pulled strings for you?' 'I never asked for any favors.'"
Pages 6 & 7

I'm just gonna say this upfront: I don't think I'm very good at reading manga. It's not the back to front reading... it's not the left to right reading... I think it's something about the way the stories are told in most manga. It could also have something to do with character names I can't ever remember and ambiguous drawings of characters. I always end up having to check earlier images to make sure they're the same person.

So... all that's on me. I don't want that to affect my review of this book, but I honestly don't think I can help that. The one word I would use to describe my reading of this book was "confused." I understand having a bit of intrigue to start out - something to get the reader involved. But there was something about the way this book went about it that made me really wonder what in the heck was going on.

I spent the first hundred pages or so waiting to see what kind of story was going to come out of all of this. Turns out that the story completes itself in the first two "books" - it's an omnibus, so it's all in there. basically the story ends. And then it goes backwards and explains who all the characters were that you read about. It was almost backwards in that way.

I was shocked when I finished this book and realized that this was the entire story. I was really expecting to hear that there were 15 more books or something to complete the story... but no. This was it. The confusing mess that I was wading through was the entire thing. I was a little disappointed when I learned that.

I know there are probably tons of people who are thinking I'm insane now. This was their favorite manga of all time or something. Now, on the positive side of this thing - the artwork was beautiful. I especially loved the color inserts. Just beautiful. I also really enjoyed the whole steampunk aspect of the book. That gave it a lot of edge, for sure.

If you're a lover of this book, I apologize for this review. It just didn't work for me, even if I did love the art. I' say you should got ahead and give it a try though - it certainly didn't take very long to read (even though it was 500 pages). I hope you like it better than I did!
Other Blog Reviews:

Anime Princess
Candied Hearts

Giveaway Winner!!

The time is upon us to to announce the winner of the Stamped copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins! Thank you all for participating and I wish I had a copy to give each of you. But then I'd be super-broke.

And the winner is...
Andrea from

Congrats and I've sent you an email to get your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours or I will be chosing someone else.

Aren't giveaways so much fun?!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard To Do by Various Authors

Title: Breaking Up is Hard To Do
Authors: Niki Burnham, Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins, Lynda Sandoval
ISBN: 9780547014999
Publisher: Graphia
Page #: 300
Source: From My Library

"First Love - the joy, the excitement, the tingles - nothing can compare.

Then it ends.
The sheer pain of it all - nothing can compare to that either. How can the human body endure so much? Will you ever get over it?
Luckily, the body can and you will, and here are four stories describing how.

Extraordinary authors Niki Burnham (Royally Jacked), Terri Clark (Sleepless), Ellen Hopkins (Impulse, Crank), and Lynda Sandoval (Who's Your Daddy?) give us four tales of falling out of love. From Toby, who loses his girl because he's afraid of sex, to Mia who has to get over the heartache of falling for a straight girl, to Dee, who discovers too late that it was a cruel joke, not love, and Lisa, who gets dumped because she's not pretty enough, each story shows the resilience of the human heart with a little humor, a little pain, and lots of truth.

Falling in love is amazing. Getting dumped sucks. Reading about someone else going through it - perfect."
First Lines:

"I am, without a doubt, the luckiest guy int he entire West Rollins High School junior class. Here's why:
1. I almost have the 'rents talked into ponying up half the cost of a car."
Page 1 from Last Stand by Niki Burnham

You know, I'm not sure what made me pick this book up. I've been reading more short stories lately, so perhaps that was it. It took me a long time to decide to get to it because it seems like stories about couples breaking up would be really depressing. Luckily, these authors did a great job pulling in the humor and the friendships from wrecked relationships.

One thing I was shocked by (a little, just because it was unexpected) in these stories was the huge focus on sex. I mean, I do realize that it's a big part of relationships today... and please pardon my old fashioned sensibilities... but there were times when I just wanted to scream at the characters. It was like the one thing some of those relationships revolved around. All this is not to say that it's not appropriate - not at all. In fact, I think it would do good for many teens to read about it. I just got frustrated at the focus.

I think my favorite story was the second one - Don't Mind Me by Terri Clark. I think this was the case because it seemed like it was less about the relationship and more about the dynamics of that particular school. It was really well put together and I ended up really rooting for some of those characters.

The story by Ellen Hopkins, Just Plain Lisa, was a little weird for me to read. I've never read anything in verse before, so this was my first taste of it. Honestly, it wasn't written any differently. It's almost more to do with the formatting of the text on the page, isn't it? If you've read this short story, please let me know if it's typical in terms of novels in verse. If that's the case, perhaps I'm missing the point of it. It was a good story, yeah... just the format threw me off.

And the last story Party Foul was pretty heartbreaking. I mean, it's a really good story... and it was one of my favorites... but what happens is just so emotional. Also, I'm sorry to say that the ending isn't all that realistic. I mean, things just don't happen that way in the real world - no matter how much we really wish they did.

I think this is a good grouping of stories that deal with a hard issue. Teens will absolutely identify with the characters in each of the stories. I'll be recommending it to people looking for romance stories - because, really, that's what they are at their core.
Other Blog Review:

Library Girl Reads
YA Books and More
I didn't see a lot of reviews for this book. It's a few years old, but if you've reviewed it, let me know so I can link ya. Thanks!

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:
Invisible Things
by Jenny Davidson
To be released: November 23, 2010

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"In an alternate 1930s Europe, sixteen-year-old Sophie and Mikael, now more than a friend, investigate her parents' death, setting off a chain of events that unravels everything she thought she knew about her family, and involving them in international intrigue and the development of the atomic bomb."

Doesn't this sound wonderful?? I love historical fiction that's a mystery as well. I have high hopes for this one. Dunno how I feel about the cover, though. Hopefully it makes sense with the story. :).

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